Antarctica’s Largest Iceberg Is About To Disappear

Posted: Jun 8 2018, 1:23pm CDT | by , Updated: Jun 8 2018, 1:34pm CDT, in Latest Science News

 

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Antarctica’s Largest Iceberg is About to Disappear
Credit: NASA/ International Space Station

The iceberg B-15Z may not be tracked much longer if it splinters into smaller pieces

After drifting with the ocean currents for nearly 20 years, Antarctica’s largest-ever iceberg is nearing the end of its voyage.

The massive iceberg, known as B-15, broke off the Ross Ice Shelf near Roosevelt Island in Antarctica in March 2000. The iceberg was originally measured about 300 km long and 40 km wide – an area about twice the size of the state of Delaware. Later, it broke into several smaller sections. Of those, only four pieces were large enough to be detected by National Ice Center.

A latest image taken from International Space Station shows that a remaining iceberg B-15Z is now around 10 nautical miles long and 5 nautical miles wide, which is well within the detectable size. But it may not be tracked any longer if it further collapses. A large fracture has been spotted on B-15Z, which could make the berg increasingly fragmented and eventually cause it to disappear. The iceberg is now floating northward into the southern Atlantic Ocean.

“Melting and breakup would not be surprising, given the berg’s long journey and northerly location. When the May 2018 photograph was acquired, the berg was about 150 nautical miles northwest of the South Georgia islands. Icebergs that make it this far have been known to rapidly melt and end their life cycles here.” Nasa's Earth Observatory said in a statement.

Satellites have been tracking the movement of the drifting ice continuously for years. By studying the factors that cause the calving of icebergs, researchers can better understand the process that lead to ice shelf breakup. They can also more accurately predict how ice shelves will respond to a warming climate.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/47" rel="author">Hira Bashir</a>
The latest discoveries in science are the passion of Hira Bashir (). With years of experience, she is able to spot the most interesting new achievements of scientists around the world and cover them in easy to understand reporting.

 

 

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