MercoPress, en Español

Montevideo, November 26th 2022 - 10:02 UTC



Prepare for a huge iceberg, 880 sq kilometres anticipated NASA

Friday, November 4th 2011 - 01:06 UTC
Full article 1 comment
The crack in the ice sheet is advancing at a rate of two metres per day The crack in the ice sheet is advancing at a rate of two metres per day

A massive crack is growing wider in the Antarctic ice sheet and could break apart in the coming months, forming an iceberg the size of the island of Lanzarote (Canary Islands, Spain), NASA scientists warned Thursday.

The crack in western Antarctica's Pine Island Glacier stretches for at least 30 kilometres and runs 50 meters deep. The rift is widening at a rate of two meters per day, said NASA project scientist Michael Studinger.

When the ice breaks apart, it will produce an iceberg more than 880 square kilometres said Studinger who is part of the US space agency's IceBridge project.

But the process is not a result of global warming, he said.

“We expect that later this year or early next year there will be a pretty large iceberg forming as part of a natural cycle,” he added.

“These are cyclical events that occur every few years. The last big carving event occurred in 2001, so in general people have been expecting something to happen like that very soon.

”For us it is very exciting to actually see this while it is happening.”

The rift was first glimpsed in late September by scientists monitoring changes in the ice shelf via airplane flyovers in order to fill in the gaps left between a pair of satellites, ICESAT (Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite), which ended in 2009, and ICESAT 2, which launches in 2016.

“Our study plan is based on our desire to avoid an 'Oh-my-God moment' in 2016 when ICESAT 2 launches and starts collecting data” Studinger said.

Categories: Environment, Antarctica.

Top Comments

Disclaimer & comment rules
  • briton

    Gentlemen, what we have here, is a moving piece of land, that must not fall into argie hands,
    Or they will not only claim sovereignty over it, they will use it to perhaps conquer the world by icy stealth. Pretending to look for polar bears lol.

    Nov 04th, 2011 - 07:59 pm 0
Read all comments

Commenting for this story is now closed.
If you have a Facebook account, become a fan and comment on our Facebook Page!