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Scientists Keeping A Close Watch On Massive Iceberg’s Movement

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The massive iceberg that broke off the floating Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctic last week continues to drift towards the sea.

Measuring some 6,000 square kilometers – roughly the size of Delaware – the iceberg is being monitored via satellite images, where it appears to be moving away from the its parent ice shelf, the BBC reports.

The current season has made it difficult to gather data and information on A-68, as the iceberg is called, due to the long winter nights and cloud cover. Spacecraft have been relying on radar and infrared sensor to piece together a picture of what’s going on.

Researchers at the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research are monitoring the iceberg closely. They modeled the drift of icebergs through Antarctic waters, factoring in influences on small and large objects.

According to theories and predictions, A-68 should follow the path up the eastern coast of the Antarctic Peninsula towards the Weddell Sea, and on to the Atlantic.

Thomas Rackow, one of the scientists on the project, said,

It will most likely follow a northeasterly course, heading roughly for South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands.

He explained, “It will be very interesting to see whether the iceberg will move as expected, as a kind of ‘reality-check’ for the current models and our physical understanding.”

Scientists are already looking at the scientific possibilities the cleaving will have, and what the effects are on the remaining parts of the ice shelf. The iceberg is one of the largest recorded, and was 10% of Larsen C’s total area.

In addition, there are numerous cracks appearing on what is called the Gipps Ice Rise, which might now change after A-68’s departure.

In addition, researchers are anticipating the iceberg’s complete clearance away from the shelf, which will uncover a whole new area of the Antarctic sea floor. Previous large icebergs breaking off have led to the discovery of new species.


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