Last updated on April 19, 2014 at 1:20 EDT
Breakup of B-15 Iceberg in the Ross Sea Antarctica
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Breakup of B-15 Iceberg in the Ross Sea, Antarctica

April 17, 2013
A series of images highlights depicts the breakup of a giant iceberg in the Ross Sea, Antarctica. The first image, seen when you first open this page, was acquired on October 27, 2005, before the breakup. If you place your mouse over the image, it will shift to one captured on October 28, 2005, after the breakup; move the mouse to the side of the image and it will revert back to the first image. The ice-covered land and ocean seen in these images are the Ross Sea and Ross Ice Shelf, located on the continent of Antarctica, close to the South Pole. The Ross Ice Shelf is the largest ice shelf on the continent; it is approximately the size of France. Ice periodically breaks off from the ice shelves of Antarctica during the warm season, a process known as "calving". Occasionally, a large chunk breaks off, forming an iceberg. Because icebergs are a hazard to navigation, they are closely monitored by the National Ice Center. Any iceberg that is over 16 kilometers (10 miles) long is given a name. This particular iceberg is named "B-15A". The "B" signifies its geographical domain, longitude 90° W to 180°, "15" because it was the 15th named iceberg, and "A" because B-15 split into two parts, "A" and "B", in December 2004. Credit: Jeff Schmaltz