Giant Iceberg Breaks Free in Antarctica

Sometime between July 10th and July 12th, a giant iceberg broke free from Antarctica, wreaking havoc on shipping lanes in the area while it breaks up into smaller pieces. It broke off from the Larsen C Ice Shelf, automatically reducing that shelf’s area by 12% when it did so. Larsen C is now at its smallest ever recorded size.

Weighing in at around one trillion tons and measuring over 2200 square miles, this is one of the largest icebergs ever recorded. To provide some perspective as to how big it really is, it is twice the size of the country of Luxembourg, and about the same size as the state of Delaware or the Indonesian island of Bali. It is not as large as the biggest recorded iceberg, B-15, which broke off from the Ross ice shelf in the year 2000, but it is certainly in the top 10, and possibly even in the top 5.

aircunningham.com

Despite its size, the iceberg, which is expected to be named A68, probably won’t have an effect on global sea levels by itself. This is because it was already floating in the water at the time it broke away. But it could lead to more problems in the future. The Larsen C ice shelf is holding back a lot of ice that isn’t in the water already. If more icebergs like A68 break away in the future, this could lead that ice being released. This would certainly cause sea levels to change dramatically.

Fortunately, the Earth is not in imminent danger from the Larsen C ice shelf. It could take many years for more icebergs to break away from it. Although this does not mean there is no cause for concern at all. Scientists aren’t yet sure whether global warming caused A68 to break away, but others have broken free for just this reason. Though “calving” icebergs are a normal occurrence, climate change could be speeding this process up. Researchers intend to study this iceberg to determine if climate change was the underlying cause for its break.

The major concern now is for shipping in the area. Though the iceberg is currently not in the path of any major trade routes, it is located in the area where most cruise ships from South America visit. While a tragedy like the Titanic is not likely, due to improvements in advance-warning technology, at least one cruise ship in that area has had to be evacuated in the past due to striking an iceberg.

As to what will become of A68, there are a few options. It could stay in the ocean for years if it does not move much. If it enters warmer waters, however, it will certainly melt.

Next Article
ADVERTISEMENT
  • Let’s Nuke The Moon Just Because We Can

    Any guesses to who once said that? Yup, you guessed it… The United States once planned to shoot a nuclear bomb at the moon for the sole reason of “Because We Can!” The absolute ridiculous project was put into action during the 1950s by the U.S. Air Force and was...

    Read More
  • The Biggest Spread Of Plague Was Not Caused By Rats

    New studies have shown that rats have been unfairly accused of being the main culprit of causing the immense spread of plague during the time known as the Black Death. Initially, the rats were believed to have spread the plague so severely during 14th century Central Europe due to them...

    Read More
  • The First Medieval North American City

    Cahokia was a settlement that thrived during the years of A.D. 1050-1200, a city that held a population of 10000 to 20000 people and covered over six square miles. This made it bigger than even London at the time and numerous other European cities. It was located in Mississippi, close...

    Read More
  • Twenty-Two Years Of Poop Removed Surgically From One Man

    Remember that last time you could not go to the toilet? You just sat there in agony, with just nothing coming out? Or that constipated bloated sensation that never goes away, well now think that you have had that feeling for wait for it... 22 whole years. Impossible, right? Yes, one Chinese man has defied...

    Read More
  • Yes, There Was A Black Nazi

    Meet Hans Massaquoi, one of the very rare and few biracial Germans who were born and grew up during the Nazi regime. Though do not be mislead by the photo, he was not actually allowed to join the Nazi Party. This does not really make much sense when you remember...

    Read More
  • Marijuana Farms Are Killing Owls

    In California the great marijuana legalization growing revolution is having some dire consequences to the local ecosystem, notably, it seems to be killing Northern spotted owls! Unfortunately the profitable of the marijuana legalization vote in California has seen the rise of numerous unpermitted private grow sites. These grow sites are...

    Read More
  • Napoleon’s Biggest Loss Was Against A Horde Of Rabbits

    Napoleon Bonaparte, the famous French emperor who dominated European and even global affairs for over a decade from 1804 to 1814. Renown for being one of the greatest military commanders ever to rule, his campaigns and victories are still studied around the world today. He won the vast majority of his battles, which means his...

    Read More