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Trillion tonne Antarctic iceberg has lost more pieces post separation

New Delhi: In November 2016, NASA’s IceBridge mission reported with evidence that a massive rift had appeared in the Antarctic Peninsula’s Larsen C ice shelf saying that it is close to breaking off.

As expected, earlier this month, the trillion tonne iceberg – one of the largest ever recorded – separated completely from Larsen C and as per reports, it began moving out into the sea, while sporting new cracks.

The iceberg, dubbed A68, is already shifting shape along with the remaining Larsen C ice shelf itself.

The reports also mentioned that A68 was last seen about 1.5 miles from the ice shelf it was formerly attached to.

Now, US space agency NASA has revealed stunning dark images showing the movement of the iceberg.

As Antarctica remains shrouded in darkness during the Southern Hemisphere winter, NASA’s Thermal Infrared Sensor (TIRS) on Landsat 8 satellite captured a new snap of the 5,800 square kilometre iceberg that split off from the Antarctic Peninsula’s Larsen C ice shelf on July 10-12.

The satellite imagery is a composite of Landsat 8 as it passed on July 14 and July 21 and shows that the main berg, A68, has already lost several smaller pieces.

The A68 iceberg is being carried by currents northward out of its embayment on the Larsen C ice shelf.

The latest imagery also details a group of three small, not yet released icebergs at the north end of the embayment.

Post the calving of the iceberg, the Larsen C ice shelf has been reduced in area by more than 12 percent – a mere shadow of what it was earlier – thereby changing the entire landscape of the Antarctic Peninsula forever.

Icebergs calve from Antarctica all the time, but because this one is particularly large, its path across the ocean needs to be monitored as it could pose a hazard to maritime traffic.

PTI