Massive Antarctic iceberg is moving at a slow pace • Earth.com

Last update: June 2nd, 2020 at 11:00 am

Massive Antarctic iceberg is moving at a slow pace Today’s Image of the Day from NASA Earth Observatory shows the movement of a massive iceberg that broke away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf on the Antarctic Peninsula last July.

After the dramatic calving event, Iceberg A-68 broke into two distinct masses that are now moving at very different speeds. 

The image was captured by Joshua Stevens using Landsat data from the U.S. Geological Survey.

Antarctica (/ænˈtɑːrtɪkə/ or /æntˈɑːrktɪkə/ (listen)) is Earth’s southernmost continent. It contains the geographic South Pole and is situated in the Antarctic region of the Southern Hemisphere, almost entirely south of the Antarctic Circle, and is surrounded by the Southern Ocean. At 14,200,000 square kilometres (5,500,000 square miles), it is the fifth-largest continent and nearly twice the size of Australia. At 0.00008 people per square kilometre, it is by far the least densely populated continent. About 98% of Antarctica is covered by ice that averages 1.9 km (1.2 mi; 6,200 ft) in thickness, which extends to all but the northernmost reaches of the Antarctic Peninsula.

Antarctica, on average, is the coldest, driest, and windiest continent, and has the highest average elevation of all the continents. Most of Antarctica is a polar desert, with annual precipitation of 200 mm (7.9 in) along the coast and far less inland; there has been no rain there for almost 2 million years, yet 80% of the world freshwater reserves are stored there.The temperature in Antarctica has reached −89.2 °C (−128.6 °F) (or even −94.7 °C (−135.8 °F) as measured from space), though the average for the third quarter (the coldest part of the year) is −63 °C (−81 °F). Anywhere from 1,000 to 5,000 people reside throughout the year at research stations scattered across the continent. Organisms native to Antarctica include many types of algae, bacteria, fungi, plants, protista, and certain animals, such as mites, nematodes, penguins, seals and tardigrades. Vegetation, where it occurs, is tundra.

By Chrissy Sexton, Earth.com Staff Writer

Image Credit: NASA Earth Observatory

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