November 12, 2009

Gigantic Iceberg Glides Towards Australia

A huge iceberg was identified near an island between Antarctica and Australia, an usual display in northern waters, Australian scientists announced on Thursday.

Australian Antarctic Division researchers employed at Macquarie Island caught a glimpse of the iceberg last Thursday 5 miles away from the coast.

The iceberg, which is 160 feet tall and 1,640 feet wide, is most likely a chunk that split from a bigger iceberg. The origin of the iceberg is guessed to be from Antarctica's Ross Ice Shelf, Australian Antarctic Division glaciologist Neal Young noted.

Quite a few icebergs have been spotted floating northward in the last year, but it is rare for them to float towards the warmer waters, Young said.

The scientists think that the iceberg will fall apart and thaw out quickly as it glides northward. Even though it will dissolve, it could pose a threat to ships steering around the area.

In 2000, a few enormous icebergs split from both Antarctica's Ross Ice Shelf and the Ronne Ice Shelf. The initial iceberg was 190 miles long and 23 miles wide. These icebergs are now floating away from the Antarctic.

Icebergs are created as the ice shelf grows and expands. Snow lands on the ice sheet and creates ice, which works its way into the edges.


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