The world’s biggest iceberg dubbed A68a – has begun to break apart in the South Atlantic. Cracks have become more pronounced, they have not yet gone all the way through the iceberg.
The first mass broke off from Antarctica in 2017.
“Nearly three-and-a-half years since it calved away from Larsen C Ice Shelf, Iceberg A68a – the fourth largest on record – is finally beginning to disintegrate,” Adrian Luckman of Swansea University told the BBC.
Luckman noted that the iceberg is not only one of the biggest recorded, it is also one of the most observed icebergs.
“With such a massive recent growth in the volume of satellite data and a huge improvement in the speed at which it can be made available, this capability has been put to good use in monitoring this huge iceberg on its journey from birth to destruction,” said Luckman.
The iceberg is floating off the coast of South Georgia in the South Atlantic, where officials had expressed concerns it could strike the island.
Last week, a large fragment of A68a, named A68d, broke off from the iceberg.
When A68a broke away from an ice shelf in Antarctica in July 2017, it measured nearly 6,000 sq km – about a quarter of the size of Wales. At 4,200 sq km, it now has an area closer to that of an English county like Somerset.
Experts are surprised the iceberg hasn’t lost more of its bulk. Many thought it would have shattered into several large pieces long before now.