When the A68 glacier broke off the Larsen-C ice shelf in 2017, it covered nearly 6,000 square kilometers. In April 2021, it practically disintegrated. Satellite images show: The remaining parts are too small to be tracked anymore. This is what the BBC reported, referring to the US National Ice Center. Small is also relative in this context, because the remaining bulk of the glacier still covers an area of just over 20 square kilometers. However, the center only monitors icebergs that are at least 68.5 square kilometers (20 square miles) in size.
Just a few months ago, the A68 covered more than 4,200 square kilometers and was on a collision course with South Georgia Island in the South Atlantic Ocean. Even biologists fear that ice sheets could become a problem for area penguins and sea lions if they cut their way to feeding grounds. But the area around the island isn’t known as the Iceberg Cemetery for nothing.
Dozens of kilometers offshore, the A68 began to disintegrate. The individual parts were still so large that they had their own names like A68-A or A68-E – depending on the order in which they were created. Many fragments have washed around South Georgia in various ways. The wind, waves and high temperatures put them to the test and split them further.
Usually for the 21st century, the A68 has likely not only intrigued science, but has also become a media star in some ways. Even before he was born into Larsen C Ice Shelf, the international community pursued his career: from the first huge crack in the ice to the close collision with the island. However, due to climate change in Antarctica, it wasn’t the last huge iceberg. Meanwhile, the A75 has detached from the ice shelf. However, only 24 nautical miles is just a dwarf among the giants.