In mid-2017,snapped off the Antarctic Peninsula. Named A68, it’s one of the largest icebergs on record. This month, the iceberg got a nudge from powerful winds and is now on its way into the nearby Weddell Sea.
The European Space Agency released a GIF view of the iceberg’s escape as seen by the Earth-watching Copernicus Sentinel-1 mission satellites. The animation starts in 2017 and follows the iceberg’s movement up into September 2018.
The big berg had been trapped in a sort of limbo since it calved, pinned near the Larsen C ice shelf by sea ice and shallow waters. NASA originally estimated it to be about the size of the state of Delaware.
While the iceberg calving was a dramatic event, the British Antarctic Survey called it “normal in the life cycle of an ice shelf.”
The iceberg will likely now wander north toward warmer waters, sealing its ultimate fate: a slow melting away into nonexistence. That’s a process that can linger. A massive iceberg named B-15 broke away from an Antarctic ice shelf in 2000. It fell into smaller pieces and.
Iceberg A68 is smaller than B-15, but it could still persevere for years before disappearing.