WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- A massive iceberg known as A-68 has drifted away from the Larsen C ice shelf in Antarctica last year.
- A-68, roughly the size of Delaware, is the sixth largest iceberg on record.
- The massive chunk is currently drifting north as it turns in a counter-clockwise direction.
A Delaware-sized iceberg known as A-68 has broken away from the Larsen C ice shelf in Antarctica on July 12, 2017. But it didn’t stray too far away from where it came from.
In July this year, A-68 has dramatically shifted its position and is now on the move, spinning continuously toward the ocean, according to Earther.
Mark Brandon, a polar oceanographer, said that the massive iceberg is the sixth largest iceberg on record by the NASA Scatterometer Climate Record Pathfinder.
For almost a year, A-68 was almost stationary˗̶ trapped on its parent shelf. Project MIDAS reported that it was just being sloshed around by currents and winds and repeatedly getting its northern stuck in the shallow water of Bawden Ice Rise. The U.K.-based Antarctic research group has been monitoring A-68 and the Larsen C ice shelf.
On August 31, Brandon reported on the blog post Mallemaroking that the iceberg “started to swing northwards,” about two months ago, rotating in a counterclockwise direction.
He noticed A-68’s sudden movement after looking over a series of false-color images taken with the Suomi NPP satellite. According to the Inquisitr, Brandon pieced the satellite images by incorporating brightness temperature data and showing the cold iceberg and ice shelf in a dark purple hue on the lighter background of the warmer water around them.
The oceanographer found that the iceberg has undergone “a dramatic shift” and is now in a position almost perpendicular to the Larsen C ice shelf, as it rotated about 90 degrees.
A-68 has pivoted 10 degrees in the last two weeks. NASA glaciologist Christopher Shuman estimated a 40-degree rotation in the past month alone.
The cause of the strange phenomenon, which reportedly has started during the Southern Hemisphere winter, was not known. When the satellite began to pick up Antarctica after it has emerged from the cover of winter’s darkness, A-68’s dramatic spin has been recorded. Experts believed the spinning was triggered when the iceberg escaped from whatever it was holding it down all this time.
The iceberg will continue spinning “until what is currently the northern edge collides with the Larsen C ice front,” Brandon said.
“It has a spectacular amount of momentum and it’s not going to be stopped easily. I should think we will see some interesting collisions with the ice shelf in the next few months,” the oceanographer noted in Mallemaroking.