A68: Iceberg that became a social media star melts away

Iceberg that became a social media star melts away
Wide but extremely thin: A68 was about 230m thick on average. Source: CPL PHIL DYE RAF/CROWN COPYRIGHT
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Daily US Times: The iceberg that was for a time the biggest in the world and a social media sensation is melt away. A68, as it was known, covered an area of nearly 2,300 sq miles (6,000 sq km) when it broke away from Antarctica in 2017.

The iceberg was so big, it was like a small country, equal to a quarter of the size of Wales.

But satellite imagery shows the mega-berg has now virtually broken into countless small pieces that the US National Ice Center says are no longer worth tracking. The iceberg calved from the Larson C Ice Shelf on the edge of the Antarctic Peninsula, and for a year it hardly moved.

But then A68 started to drift north with increasing speed, riding on strong winds and currents.

The billion-tonne ice block took a familiar route, heading into the South Atlantic towards the British Overseas Territory of South Georgia.

The small island is where many of the mega-bergs go to die. Caught in the local shallows, the ice bergs are doomed to gradually melt away.

But A68 somehow managed to escape that particular fate. Instead, it was the warm, the waves, water and higher air temperatures in the Atlantic that eventually consumed A68.
It simply shattered into smaller and smaller pieces. Adrian Luckman, from Swansea University, said: “It’s amazing that A68 lasted as long as it did.”

”If you think about the thickness ratio – it’s like four pieces of A4 paper stacked up on top of one another. So this thing is incredibly flexible and fragile as it moved around the ocean. It lasted for years like that. But it eventually broke into four-to-five pieces and then those broke up as well,” he added.

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