Exactly one year ago today, the world’s biggest iceberg broke off the Antarctic. A titan weighing a trillion tonnes and covering an area a quarter the size of Wales, the iceberg fell off after beginning as a mere crack in Larsen’s Ice more than 10 years ago. But things quickly escalated and, in July 2017, satellites from various countries confirmed the colossal break. But what’s happened since?
Well, it has actually spent its time in a sort of limbo. Imagine the worst driver you know attempting a 3-point turn and failing miserably: it has just sort of shifted and shuffled without really going anywhere. But scientists have deemed this unsurprising, given its monstrous size.
Naming the iceberg ‘A-68’ (snappy right?), those studying it have reported it to be ‘sluggish’ and not as susceptible to winds as smaller versions. It has also remained completely frozen given the extreme cold in the Antarctic.
It would appear not that much has really happened. So why is this breaking of A-68 so momentous?
Well underneath the sprawling ice was an undiscovered ecosystem - tucked away for thousand of years. Imagine a huge basement of surprises found after the roof suddenly breaks away. But instead of a basement, it’s an area of ocean and seabed measuring more than 5,000 square kilometres.
Given this new information, a team of scientists embarked on a mission in February aboard the RRS James Clark Ross in hope of finding hidden ecosystem treasures. We are yet to hear back about what they find, but we wish them all the best in their travels. If they bring back a dinosaur or 5, that would also be wonderful. Fingers crossed!