(TORONTO) – Scientists have recently observed an existence of a huge iceberg in the Antarctic region. Now considered as one of the biggest on earth, the iceberg broke off from an Antarctic glacier and is slowly moving towards the open ocean.
Dr. Keely Brunt,a scientist with NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Centre and Morgan State University in Maryland, said on Wednesday that the iceberg is about 500m thick and covers nearly 660 square kilometers. He also said that the iceberg, named as B31, detached from the Pine Island Glacier in November, last year.
Dr. Brunt said, “It’s one that’s large enough that it warrants monitoring.” He said this while mentioning that the US government organizations, including the National Ice Centre, are monitoring many icebergs.
Moreover, the iceberg is not located in path of any shipping industry’s navigation routes. She added, “there’s not a lot of shipping traffic down there. We’re not particularly concerned about shipping lanes. We know where all the big ones are.”
The scientists are interested in B31 not just because of its extraordinary size but also because it actually broke off in an unexpected area. She said, “It’s like a large sheet cake floating through the Southern Ocean.”
Dr. Brunt, also said that the glacial crack which led to the creation of the B31 iceberg was first noticed back in October 2011.
Scientists say that the Pine Island Glacier of Antarctica has been studied closely over the last two decades as it has been diluting and exhausting rapidly and might prove be a significant contributor to the rise of sea level.
Furthermore, they said that the iceberg has traveled across the Pine Island Bay, a basin of the Amundsen Sea, and is likely to be swept up very soon in the immediate currents of the Southern Ocean.
NASA images by Jeff Schmaltz, LANCE/EOSDIS Rapid Response