The giant iceberg that broke loose from the Antarctic peninsula in July is slowly releasing itself from the Antarctic peninsula and revealing a new ecosystem that has been hidden for thousands of years and now only sees the light of day.
As A-68 departs from Larsen C towards the Weddel Sea, it is slowly exposing 5800 square kilometers of waterlogged land that has been covered by the iceberg for about 120 000 years, without any light and with only a faint connection to the oceans through the weak currents of the region.
Now, scientists are aiming to start exploring the area that has a fantastic positive outlook, since it has been virtually isolated throughout this period. One can not imagine which species may be living or fossil in the region, and how they may have evolved differently.
The area now exposed by Larsen C has been designated as an area of scientific interest and any commercial activity in the region, including fishing or tourism, is therefore prohibited for a minimum period of two years, with the possibility of extending this period to 10 years, or even for an indefinite period, if the interest persists.
Studying the region as the iceberg departs from is important because it will enable scientists to better understand similar events, which are likely to become more common in the near future, and also study how wildlife responds as the ecosystem alters
There is no evidence yet that this event is due directly to climate change, although this is likely, but it is more than likely that similar events will happen more often, so it is crucial to better understand how the environment and the life of that ecosystem react and adapt to the changes brought about by this great change.
We look forward to more news about this hidden ecosystem and the surprises that may be contained in it.