NASA Captures Close-Up Views Of Antarctica’s Spectacular Iceberg

NASA scientists captured close-up views of the Larsen C Ice Shelf and the new massive iceberg that was detached in July from the said biggest floating ice shelves in Antarctica. This new iceberg is named A-68 and considered as one of the largest ever observed on the planet Earth.

Nathan Kurtz, a scientist with the NASA Operation Icebridge, said that he was shocked to see that the iceberg looks like still part of the ice shelf. He further said that to see it fully detached and to see this huge massive block of ice floating out there was pretty shocking.

The spectacular iceberg A-68 weighs about a trillion tons. It has a surface area of 2,240 square miles (5,800 square kilometers). It was observed that this iceberg is drifting away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf and could head towards the South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands. In the meantime, as it floats away, it also forms more icebergs, according to Gizmodo.

Meanwhile, the close-by ice shelves, including the Larsen B Ice Shelf, have broken into small parts. In a recent study, it showed that the West Antarctic Ice Sheet and the East Antarctic Ice Sheet are more susceptible to melting.

Mashable reports that A-68 will not trigger danger and it will not add to sea level rise immediately. On the other hand, it’s breaking off the Larsen C Ice Shelf might cause the collapse of the ice shelf. This could advance the flow of inland ice into the sea increasing the sea level rise.

Kurtz said that if an ice shelf collapses, the consequences would be a faster rate of sea level rise. He added that because the ice shelf is helping to hold the ice on the Antarctic peninsula back, the ice is going to flow out faster.

Meanwhile, Adrian Luckman, the lead MIDAS researcher and an Antarctic scientist at Swansea University, said the future progress of the iceberg will be difficult to predict. The iceberg could remain in one piece, however, is more likely to break into pieces. And some of the ice could stay on the surface for decades, yet others could drift away to the north into warmer water, according to Washington Post.

[Featured Image by Mario Tama/Getty Images]