Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Meet C-28, Antarctica's big new iceberg baby

NPR reports;
A massive iceberg struck Antarctica, dislodging another giant block of ice from a glacier, Australian and French scientists said Friday.

The two icebergs are drifting together about 62 to 93 miles (100 to 150 kilometers) off eastern Antarctica following the collision on Feb. 12 or 13, said Australian Antarctic Division glaciologist Neal Young.
Wikipedia:
 The newly formed iceberg has been named Iceberg C-28, because it is the 28th substantial iceberg to have broken off the Antarctic ice shelf, in the quadrant that faces Australia, since 1976. The iceberg is 400 metres (1,300 ft) high, has a surface area of 2,545 square kilometres (983 sq mi) and weighs in at about 860 billion tonnes. According to Australian glaciologist Neal Young, such an event occurs once in 50 to 100 years.
Here's a picture of the aftermath of the collision (NASA) :


 Here's a nice Australian picture of the small iceberg in the bay between the two large icebergs -- visible in the above photo.  Spacefellowship explains, "Measuring roughly 8.5 by 9.5 kilometers (5 by 6 miles), this iceberg is surrounded by smaller chunks of ice, which may have broken off the Mertz Glacier Tongue at the same time as the large iceberg, or after it calved."


The coolest images of the iceberg come to us from the European Space Agency (ESA) website.  Check out this time lapse photo:
 This animation, made up of eight Envisat radar images, shows the 97-km long B-9B iceberg (right) ramming into the Mertz Glacier Tongue in Eastern Antarctica in early February 2010. The collision caused a chunk of the glacier’s tongue to snap off, giving birth to another iceberg nearly as large as B-9B. The new iceberg, named C-28, is roughly 78-km long and 39-km wide, with a surface area of 2500 sq km (the size of Luxembourg).

Envisat’s Advanced Synthetic Aperture Radar (ASAR) acquired these images from 10 February to 4 March in Wide Swath Mode, providing spatial resolution of 150 m. ASAR can pierce through clouds and local darkness and is capable of differentiating between different types of ice.

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