Australian scientists are bound for Antarctica to study the cause of enormous cracks forming in the Amery Ice Shelf.
The Amery Ice Shelf drains about one eighth of the ice from the East Antarctic Ice Sheet. An ice shelf is a body that floats on water while still attached to the main land bound Antarctic ice cap.
A huge chunk of the Amery ice shelf may break free soon, and at approximately 900 square kilometers (347 square miles); it will be quite a massive iceberg. The area where the huge cracks have appeared, referred to as the “loose tooth”, became visible around 10 years ago and are growing at a rate of 10 – 14 meters per day.
Scientists aren’t yet sure whether this cracking is a result of global warming or part of a natural cycle as it has only been witnessed in this area once before – back in the 1960’s
There seems to be all sorts of odd iceberg related happenings in both hemispheres in recent years. These incidents do lend more evidence to the case that global warming is very real.
Currently, there are some icebergs floating just off the coast of New Zealand. One was reported a couple of weeks back as being around 200 meters long and 50 meters high – that’s around 600 feet x 150 feet. While icebergs are known to travel long distances from Antarctica; they’ve not been known to get this close to the mainland for many, many years.
In the last few years, there’s also been a series of major calvings (breakoffs) from the Larsen B ice shelf in Antarctica, which had previously remained stable for thousands of years. One of the icebergs generated by that series of events was 650 feet thick and had a surface area of 1,250 square miles.