Iceberg A68, which has an area of around 6,000 km² and is more than 200 metres thick, calved from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in July 2017. Although the production of A68 is probably part of a natural calving process, in which the release of icebergs balances the inflow of ice from the glaciers that feed the ice shelf, there is a worrying trend of retreat and collapse of other ice shelves on the Antarctic Peninsula.
Knowledge of the past stability or otherwise of the Larsen C Ice Shelf over the last few thousand years is needed to understand the significance of the calving of Iceberg A68. The production of A68 revealed portions of the seafloor that had been covered by the ice shelf for many thousands of years. This provides a unique opportunity to study the ecosystems of the seafloor beneath Antarctic ice shelves.
The Weddell Sea has been put forward for consideration for special protection as a Marine Protected Area (MPA), as a result of its unique and rare ecosystems.
The Larsen C Ice Shelf of the Weddell Sea is presently the fourth largest ice shelf in Antarctica, with an area of about 44,000 km².
Iceberg A68, which has an area of around 6,000 km² and is more than 200 metres thick, calved from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in July 2017.