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One trillion tonne iceberg spins out to sea

One of the world’s largest icebergs – four times the size of London – has broken away from Antarctic shores and started spinning towards the open ocean. Scientists are trying to predict where it’s heading, and Professor in Polar Oceanography at The Open University (OU), Mark Brandon, is one of those tracking its progress.

“Spectacular momentum”

Professor Brandon has been examining satellite images of the sixth largest iceberg. Known as A68, the iceberg broke away from the Antarctic Larsen C Ice Shelf in July 2017, but settled on the shallow seabed. Satellite images from August 2018 show that weather conditions and currents had enabled it to break free of the ice shelf and start rotating.

Professor Brandon, says:

“Between 7 and 12 July 2018, the weather conditions and ocean currents conspired to swing the trillion tonnes of the giant iceberg A68 in an anticlockwise direction. It has a spectacular amount of momentum and it’s not going to be stopped easily. I should think we will see some interesting collisions with the ice shelf in the next few months.”

Read more about the trillion tonne iceberg and what caused it to start spinning in Mark Brandon’s blog.

About Author

Christine works in the Media Relations team within the Communications Unit at The Open University. She is an experienced BBC journalist, sub-editor and news editor and has a background in regional newspapers. After moving to PR she worked as a press officer for the Zoological Society of London. She has a BSc in Social Sciences with Politics from The Open University and focuses on stories from the Faculty of Social Science and widening access in HE. Chris swims regularly and has a pet Tortoise called Lightning.

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