Fragments of Iceberg PII-A
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Fragments of Iceberg PII-A

September 12, 2011
On September 2, 2011 the waters of White Bay, Newfoundland, were speckled with fragments of the Petermann Ice Island – A (PII-A). The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard the Terra satellite captured this true-color image on that same day.

PII-A is a remnant of a much larger ice island that calved off the Petermann Glacier in northwestern Greenland on August 5, 2010. On August 16, 2011, Environment Canada reported that the ice island had been grounded off of Newfoundland, east of St. Anthony, since August 9. By August 18, PII-A was on the move again, and by August 23 it split into two pieces. Since that time, PII-A has continued to spawn fragments that have drifted southward into White Bay.

On September 8, 2011, CBCNews reported that a northeast wind had blown some “massive, frozen beauties” in to the Bay, near the community of Hampden. Another local news service, The Western Star, reported that the icebergs were floating no more than 30 feet offshore on that morning, and that residents described them as larger and flatter than any they had seen before.

Icebergs are not an uncommon sight in White’s Bay, but they don’t linger long. According to local news sources, the icebergs, and the tourists they bring, are expected to last only a week or so, before the winds and tides sweep them out of the Bay and back into the sea.

Credits: Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA GSFC

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