Closeup of the Ice Island from Petermann Glacier
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Closeup of the Ice Island from Petermann Glacier

December 20, 2012
In July 2012, a massive ice island broke free of the Petermann Glacier in northwestern Greenland. On July 16, the giant iceberg could be seen drifting down the fjord, away from the floating ice tongue from which it calved. On July 21, 2012, the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) on NASA’s Terra satellite captured this image of the iceberg’s continuing journey. This image has been rotated and north is toward the right. This detailed image reveals that the iceberg covers an area of about 32.3 square kilometers (12.5 square miles). The Petermann Glacier grinds and slides toward the sea along the northwestern coast of Greenland, terminating in a giant floating ice tongue. Like other glaciers that end in the ocean, Petermann periodically calves icebergs. The last time a massive iceberg broke off of the Petermann Glacier was in 2010.

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