Giant Iceberg Breaks Off Antarctic Glacier 278 sq miles now floating freely in the Amundsen Sea (photo gallery)
Giant Iceberg Breaks Off Antarctic Glacier
A massive iceberg, larger than the city of Chicago, broke off of Antarctica’s Pine Island Glacier on Monday (July 8), and is now floating freely in the Amundsen Sea, according to a team of German scientists.
The newborn iceberg measures about 278 square miles (720 square kilometers), and was seen by TerraSAR-X, an earth-observing satellite operated by the German Space Agency (DLR). Scientists with NASA’s Operation IceBridgefirst discovered a giant crack in the Pine Island Glacier in October 2011, as they were flying over and surveying the sprawling ice sheet.
At that time, the fissure spanned about 15 miles (24 km) in length and 164 feet (50 meters) in width, according to researchers at the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in Bremerhaven, Germany. In May 2012, satellite images revealed a second rift had formed near the northern side of the first crack.
“As a result of these cracks, one giant iceberg broke away from the glacier tongue,” Angelika Humbert, a glaciologist at the Alfred Wegener Institute, said in a statement.
Photo Gallery: Antarctica’s Pine Island Glacier Cracks
If you enlarge you can see that’s a pretty significant berg.
yes and this doesn’t sound good
Still, if the glacier’s flow speeds up, it could have serious consequences, the researchers said. The Pine Island Glacier currently acts as a plug, holding back part of the immense West Antarctic Ice Sheet whose melting ice contributes to rising sea levels.