Birth of A-68

Birth of A-68

(Left) Sentinel-1A EW SAR image on July 10 2017, overlaid with LIMA image, showing a massive rift has developed. (Right) Sentinel-1B IW SAR image on July 12 2017, overlaid with the left image, showing Iceberg A-68 has calved from Larsen C Ice Shelf.

Iceberg A-68 is a supersized iceberg that calved from Larsen C Ice Shelf in July 2017. The area of Iceberg A-68, when it was calved from the ice shelf, was about 5.800 square kilometers which accounts approximately for 12% of the area of Larsen C Ice Shelf. The thickness of Iceberg A-68 was estimated to be about 200 meters and the mass about 1 trillion tons. Iceberg A-68 is currently the largest iceberg in Antarctica.

The reason why Iceberg A-68 was calved from Larsen C Ice Shelf has not yet been clarified. Scientists are actively performing studies on whether the ice shelf calving is due to climate change or natural phenomenon.

Due to the split with Iceberg A-68, the flow velocity of Larsen C Ice Shelf may change, which can change the oceanic outflow of the ice sheet and cause a change to the sea level. In addition, the occurrence of a supersized iceberg can affect the surrounding marine ecosystem and the sea ice forms, so continuous and constant monitoring for the iceberg is necessary.

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