Wednesday, 03 March, 2021


Antarctica Seafloor Exposed After 120000 Years as Giant Iceberg Breaks Off

Antarctica Seafloor Exposed After 120000 Years as Giant Iceberg Breaks Off Antarctica Seafloor Exposed After 120000 Years as Giant Iceberg Breaks Off
Kristine Garrett | 15 February, 2018, 06:42

After the massive iceberg calved off the Antarctic continent in July past year, it revealed a mysterious marine world beneath it.

The A68 calved off from Antarctica because of rising temperatures in the region, so as these scientists study how these changes in the environment are affecting local wildlife, we'll get a better understanding of the effects that our consumption of fossil fuels will have on the world as a whole, including (and especially) polar regions with their unique, weird ecosystems. The iceberg is about 192m thick, of which 30m rests above the surface.

The enormous 5,800-square-kilometer Antarctic ice shelf broke away last July, calving away from the Antarctic Peninsula. It's been drifting away from the area for months now, slowly disintegrating into smaller and smaller bits (and spawning treacherous many icebergs in the process).

View of the Larsen C iceberg. The science team will depart from the Falkland Islands aboard the James Clark Ross research vessel.

A Delaware-sized iceberg broke off from Antartica's Larsen C ice shelf last summer unveiling a once-inaccessible marine ecosystem that stayed hidden for 120,000 years. "The calving of [iceberg] A-68 [from the Larsen C Ice Shelf] provides us with a unique opportunity to study marine life as it responds to a dramatic environmental change", said Kkatrin Linse of the British Antarctica Survey (BAS) in a statement.

Linse said that they have to get there before the underwater environment changes as sunlight starts to enter the water and new species start to colonize the area.

"We've put together a team with a wide range of scientific skills so that we can collect as much information as possible in a short time".

Science Daily reported that Katrin's team will investigate the new sea by collecting seafloor animals, microbes, plankton, and sediments.

Though scientists are apprehensive of what they may find in the pristine waters, they have come across weird creatures in Antarctica before. They're also going to see if any new life has taken residence in the area, including birds and marine mammals.

While research teams have taken advantage of cracks in the Larsen C ice shelf before, but in those instances other local wildlife invaded the area before it took researchers to arrive.

This provides researchers with a unique opportunity to study an ecosystem almost 6000 square kilometres in size that has been hidden for up to 120,000 years. An worldwide agreement has now been put in place to protect this emerging area and keep it in pristine condition. While many things happening in Antarctica, including calving or melting of the ice, is attributed to climate changes, calving of this particular iceberg likely occurred naturally, according to the scientists.

"The calving of A68 offers a new and unprecedented opportunity to establish an interdisciplinary scientific research programme in this climate sensitive region", said Professor Vaughan. And with further ice shelf destabilization expected in the coming decades, more species could suddenly be exposed to unfavorable living conditions around the continent's edge, which could expose thousands of sea creatures to an untimely death.

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