City-Sized Iceberg Drifting Out to Sea

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Tue, Apr 22 - 2:39 pm EDT | 4 years ago by
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Back in November, a massive iceberg broke off of Antarctica’s Pine Island Glacier (PIG). This iceberg (which has been dubbed B31) is freaking huge. You might have seen the headlines saying it’s twice as big as Atlanta or six times the size of Manhattan — and it is.

The “ice island” is about 20 miles by 12 miles in size and researchers believe it could be a third of a mile thick. The latest news is that it has now drifted out to sea.

According to NASA, they had first observed the crack back in 2011 but the iceberg calved from PIG back in November 2013.

“The iceberg is now well out of Pine Island Bay and will soon join the more general flow in the Southern Ocean, which could be east or west in this region,” iceberg researcher Grant Bigg from the University of Sheffield in England said in the NASA statement.

Could it cause some damage once it’s out in the Southern Ocean? Sure it could, but scientists say it will be hard to even track during the dark Antarctic winter. It’s not going to melt anytime soon and could hang around for another year.

B31 isn’t even close to the largest iceberg on record. That one was B15 with an area of 4,250 square miles (about the size of Jamaica) that calved off Antarctica’s Ice Shelf back in 2000 and has since broken up.

Check out the five photos in the gallery and the time-lapse video below to see more of the huge ice glacier B31.


Iceberg B31 Cracking Away (October 2011)

Iceberg B31 (November 2013)

Iceberg B31 Moving into Pine Island Bay (December 2013)

Iceberg B31 Headed to Amundsen Sea (February 2014)

Iceberg B31 (March 2014)

Source: NASA images by Jeff Schmaltz, LANCE/EOSDIS Rapid Response

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