A team of German scientists discovered that an iceberg that was as big as the city of Chicago was floating in the Amundsen Sea. It had broken off from mainland Antarctica and was spied by the TerraSAR-X, a satellite set in orbit by the German Space Agency. NASA’s technicians had already noticed a considerable rift in the region which is Pine Island Glacier two years ago. According to LiveScience, the cracks revealed measured 15 miles by 164 feet. A second chasm was detected in 2012. The overall effect of these cracks and fissures was that the large land mass broke loose and started drifting into the Amundsen Sea. As the iceberg travels further in its journey, it will spawn several smaller pieces which will detach themselves from it and carry on in their own individual directions.
The manner in which the ice melts and then cracks remains somewhat of a mystery. Glaciers are constantly shifting their shape. The way in which icebergs react to the tensions and forces surrounding them remains an unexplored topic. Last time this region produced icebergs was 12 and 6 years ago. There is speculation among marine geologists as to the reasons behind this phenomenon. Some say it is climate change due to global warming. However, others deny this and claim that other factors are responsible for the change. It could have everything to do with wind direction. If more pieces break off it could prove troublesome. Scientists are currently observing the situation closely.
Image Credit: Live Science