Stunning new image of giant, Delaware-sized iceberg A-68
The A-68 Iceberg, which is roughly the size of Delaware, is now drifting away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf after it broke off in July.
Earlier this year, it was discovered that a vast 2,240 square mile iceberg had calved from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in the Antarctic.
Named A-68, it is the third largest iceberg ever recorded. There is now concern that A-68 could break up into smaller pieces and disrupt shipping lanes, so the iceberg has been closely monitored.
So far, researchers have measured a 3-mile gap of open ocean between the iceberg and the ice shelf.
Calving is a common occurrence, but because of the sheer size of A-68, experts are concerned that the Larsen C Ice shelf is deteriorating and may even collapse.
If the ice shelf does break apart completely, it could cause an additional four inches of sea-level rise.
Since A-68 was first discovered, researchers have depended on satellite imagery to monitor the split. Recently, a NASA team successfully flew over the iceberg and captured new images and data.
“A-68 is so expansive it appears if it were still part of the ice shelf,” said Kathryn Hansen, one of the researchers on the flight. “But if you look far into the distance you can see a thin line of water between the iceberg and where the new front of the shelf begins.”
It’s the first time scientists were able to get this close of a look at A-68. The purpose of the flight, which was part of the NASA IceBridge program, was to get a better idea of the bedrock and bathymetry below the Larsen C Ice Shelf.
Scientists say that even though the calving that caused A-68 was unprecedented, it was not caused by global warming. However, this does not mean that researchers aren’t concerned about climate change’s impact on future cracks and calving events on Antarctic ice shelves.
Image Credit: NASA Operation IceBridge