GPB
104.5 FM
function pluginCreated() { // We don't need to see the plugin, so hide it by resizing var plugin = document.getElementById('myPlugin'); plugin.height = 0; plugin.width = 0; plugin.callPluginMethod(); }
41165

Trillion-Ton Iceberg Breaks off Antartica

The gigantic mass of ice, estimated to be more than 200 meters thick, covers an area of roughly 6,000 square kilometers – about four times the size of London.

On Wednesday, a U.S. satellite observed that an existing crack in the Larsen C Ice Shelf appears to have broken through. As recent as one week ago, the Delaware-size iceberg was threatening to disconnect from the ice shelves. Experts had been monitoring the development of the crack for more than a decade.

According to the scientists, the iceberg will likely be named A68. The gigantic mass of ice, estimated to be more than 200 meters thick, covers an area of roughly 6,000 square kilometers – about a quarter the size of Wales or four times the size of London with a volume believed to be twice that of Lake Erie.

The iceberg has yet to move, but currents and winds might push it north of the Antarctic where it could prove bothersome to ships. Its immobility, however, could be charged to it being grounded on underwater hills or to the effects of sea currents and winds.

Antarctic research scientists believe that "There is a risk that Larsen C may eventually follow the example of its neighbor, Larsen B, which disintegrated in 2002 following a similar rift-induced calving event in 1995."

Or it could simply remain where it is (some have for up to 20 years), float away in one piece or break up into smaller icebergs.

According to scientists, Larsen C is now at its smallest extent and about 10 other shelves further to the north along the Peninsula have either collapsed or retreated significantly in recent decades.

Two nearby, smaller shelves, Larsen A and Larsen B, disintegrated around the turn of the century – warming climate likely played a role in their demise.

The largest iceberg observed in the satellite era was an object called B-15. It came away from the Ross Ice Shelf in 2000 and measured about 11,000 square kilometers.

In 1956, it was reported that a U.S. Navy icebreaker had encountered an object of roughly 32,000 square kilometers – bigger than Belgium. But, there were no satellites to confirm the sighting, http://www.telesurtv.net reported.


Add Your Comment below
Related