NASA Worried Over Breakaway Iceberg from Antartica Heading into Southern Ocean, Could Drift to Populated Shipping Lanes
By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | April 28, 2014 2:34 PM EST
A breakaway iceberg from Antartica which is six times larger than Manhattan, has the NASA's Earth Observatory worried. Scientists believed the rogue iceberg could drift to populated shipping lanes which could disrupt the industry.
REUTERS/NASA Earth Observatory
The B-31 Iceberg is seen before, (top) on October 28, 2013 and after separating on November 13, 2013, from a rift in Antarctica's Pine Island Glacier in this NASA Earth Observatory handout image. Scientists are monitoring an unusually large iceberg - roughly six times the size of Manhattan - that broke off from an Antarctic glacier and is heading into the open ocean, although not in an area heavily navigated by ships. REUTERS/NASA Earth Observatory/Holli Riebeek/Handout via Reuters.
Categorized as B31, the iceberg spans 35 kilometres by 20 kilometres (21 by 12 miles), roughly the size of Singapore, and is a mile (500 metres) thick. NASA glaciologist Kelly Brunt said the iceberg separated from Antarctica's Pine Island Glacier in November 2013.
The iceberg is currently in a location not heavily navigated by ships.
"However, it is hard to predict with certainty where and when these things will drift. Icebergs move pretty slowly, and watching this iceberg will be a waiting game," Brunt said.
If caught in the coastal counter-current, the breakaway B31 could go around the frozen continent heading west, or eastward if the iceberg enters the wider circumpolar current.
It could pose a hazard in the coming months if it drifts to populated shipping lanes, scientists said.
Pine Island Glacier, from where the iceberg originated, was first detected in 2011. It's been closely studied over the past two decades because it has been thinning and draining rapidly. Scientists said these development could be an important contributor to the rising sea level.
Tom Wagner, NASA's cryosphere program manager, said the shelf of Pine Island Glacier has been moving forward at roughly 4 kilometres per year, so the calving of this iceberg is not necessarily a surprise.
To report problems or to leave feedback about this article, e-mail:
To contact the editor, e-mail:
Most Popular Slideshows
- Still The World Champions: Team USA Overpowers Serbia, 129-92 To Win 2014 FIBA World Cup [PHOTOS]
- Kendall Jenner Could Be Next Victoria's Secret Angel [PHOTOS]
- From Fat To Fit: Celebrities Who Were Overweight Before They Became The Beauties That They Are
- Taylor Swift Named People's Best Dressed Stars Of 2014 [PHOTOS]
Join the Conversation
- Headache: Rx – Sex 3X A Day
- Bardarbunga Volcano In Iceland Erupts With Brightly Coloured Lava Under Northern Lights [Watch Video]
- A Jawbone Found In Sydney Beach Has Been Matched To An 800-Year Old Skull
- George, The Goldfish Underwent Surgery To Remove Brain Tumour - Watch Video
- Human Faces are so Variable Because we Evolved to Look Unique, Finds Study
- iOS 8 Release Date Of Sept 17 Has Arrived: Update Begins At 10AM Pacific Time, Upgrade Your iDevices With iOS 7.1.2 First To Install iOS 8
- Why Samsung Galaxy S5 Is Not The Best Smartphone To Purchase Now? If You Still Want To, Wait For A Month To Get It Cheap
- Apple iPad Air 2, iPad Mini 3 October Release Date Roundup: Freshly Leaked Protective Case Debuts Unique Vent Alongside Camera
- Google Nexus 6 Release Date on Q4 2014 Confirmed by T-Mobile Featuring Wi-Fi Calling
- Canadian IS Jihadist Wants to ‘Play Soccer’ with Heads of US Decapitated Soldiers
- Warning to U.S. – ISIS Has Shot Down a Syrian Regime Fighter Jet
- Spice Dream Uno vs Xiaomi Redmi 1S: Android One Smartphone to Challenge The Existing Budget Friendly Smartphone