December 14, 2009

Australian Iceberg Breaking Up

The giant iceberg, known as B17B, is gradually breaking up into smaller pieces as it drifts northeast from Antarctica towards Australia.

The 140 square kilometer block of ice has now reduced its size to 115 square kilometers, making the iceberg approximately 18 kilometers long by 8 kilometers wide.

Australian Antarctic Division glaciologist, Dr Neal Young, has been tracking the iceberg's progress using satellite images from NASA and the European Space Agency since it was first seen about 1,700 kilometers of the western coast of Australia on December 9th.

"If you didn't know about the early picture you would still say it's a monster," Young told AFP.

"The iceberg is now at 49.6 degrees S and 108.9 degrees E, so it's actually moving in a more easterly direction now in line with the currents in the ocean to the south of Australia," he said.

He expects the giant iceberg to completely dissolve but wasn't able to predict when it would happen.

He says, "Might be two weeks, might be several weeks. The key thing at the moment is it's getting thinner."

The iceberg is expected to continue tracking in a more easterly direction.

Australian authorities last week issued a shipping alert over the possible hazard from icebergs.


Image Caption: Satellite image of B17B. Taken 13 December 2009.


On the Net: