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
- Manny Pacquiao Vs. Chris Algieri World Tour Kick Off Press Conference In Macau [PHOTOS]
- Top 5 Richest Tennis Athletes
- Angelina Jolie & Brad Pitt Heads to Malta For New Movie After A Whirlwind French Wedding [PHOTOS]
Join the Conversation
- Papua New Guinea’s Mount Tavurvur Erupts, Qantas Reroutes Flights
- Tiny Beads Found In Shampoo And Exfoliants Are A Threat to the Sydney Harbour
- Underground Eruption of A Volcano Noticed As Powerful Earthquakes Rock Iceland
- Two Moons Hoax Surfaces Again: Debunked By Scientists, Twitter Explodes With Reactions
- Climate Change Is Eating Away The Great Barrier Reef
- Sept 19 iPhone 6 Release Date Firms Up as iWatch Rollout Delayed to Jan 2015 – Reports
- Apple iWatch is iPhone 6 Accessory on Sept 19 Release Date: 6 Confirmed Specs & Features
- Apple iOS 8 vs Android 5.0 L: OS Wars Puts Android to Lower while Apple to Higher
- Canada Vs Russia War Erupts Via Twitter on Russia-Not Russia Maps
- James Foley Torture Involves CIA Waterboarding Technique
- North Korea Banker Who Manages Money of Kim Jong-un Defects to Russia With $5 Million
- Malaysia Airlines to Axe 4,000 Employees, Including CEO; Suspends Trading of Shares