Giant iceberg from Larsen C Ice Shelf stays close to home

Updated: Jul 25, 2018

The 2017 image shows a trillion-ton iceberg, about as large as Delaware, soon after it broke away from Antarctica’s Larsen C Ice Shelf and fractured into two pieces: A-68A and the much smaller A-68B.

The 2018 image shows that during the intervening year, the larger iceberg, impeded by dense sea ice and a rock outcrop, drifted only about 28 miles (45 kilometers) into the Weddell Sea, about half the distance that its smaller companion traveled. The colors in these thermal images represent temperatures ranging from orange (warmest) to light blue and white (coldest). Thermal imaging enables scientists to see the icebergs during the polar night, which will last through early August. Read more at NASA's Earth Observatory.


In July 2017, a huge iceberg dramatically broke away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf on the Antarctic Peninsula. But the aftermath has been a bit more drawn-out, as the berg hasn’t moved very far.

The left image shows Iceberg A-68 on July 30, 2017, soon after it broke away from the shelf and then fractured into two pieces known as A-68A and A-68B. The right image shows the same area on July 1, 2018. Both images are false-color, acquired with the Thermal Infrared Sensor (TIRS) on Landsat 8. Colors indicate the relative warmth or coolness of the landscape, from orange (warmest) to light blue and white (coldest).

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