Stunning NASA images show one of the biggest icebergs to split from Antarctica  
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Stunning NASA images show one of the biggest icebergs to split from Antarctica  

NASA captured first close up images of A-68, an iceberg the size of American state Delaware.

science Updated: Nov 16, 2017 15:38 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
The edge of A-68, the iceberg the calved from the Larsen C ice shelf. (Picture courtesy: NASA/Nathan Kurtz)

NASA posted this month the first close-up images of one of the largest icebergs to have broken away from Antarctica.

The one trillion tonne iceberg, measuring 5,800 square km, cleaved away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica sometime between July 10 and 12 this year.

The stunning photos of the white expanse were captured by a special NASA aircraft for Operation IceBridge, which studies the impact of global warming on polar caps Antarctica and Arctic. The P-3 Orion took off from Ushuaia in Argentina and flew over Larsen C, reported Mashable.

One of the biggest icebergs on record has broken away from Antarctica, scientists said on Wednesday, creating an extra hazard for ships around the continent as it breaks up.

“I was shocked because we flew over the iceberg itself and it looks like it’s still part of the ice shelf, in terms of how large it is and the surface texture,” Nathan Kurtz, a scientist with the NASA, told The Washington Post.

NASA writer, who says she saw the iceberg, said on the website: “I was aware that I would be seeing an iceberg the size of Delaware, but I wasn’t prepared for how that would look from the air. Most icebergs I have seen appear relatively small and blocky, and the entire part of the berg that rises above the ocean surface is visible at once. Not this berg. A-68 is so expansive it appears if it were still part of the ice shelf.”

Before this, A-68 has only been photographed with the aide of satellites.

The icerberg’s progress is difficult to predict and it is likely to break into fragments, Adrian Luckman, professor at Swansea University who was monitoring the ice shelf for years, had said in July.

Big icebergs break off Antarctica naturally, meaning scientists did not link the rift to man-made climate change. The ice, however, is a part of the Antarctic peninsula that has warmed fast in recent decades.

(With agency inputs)

First Published: Nov 16, 2017 15:24 IST