Iceberg twice the size of Atlanta nears southern ocean

Windsor Genova – Fourth Estate Cooperative Contributor

Greenbelt, MD, United States (4E) – An iceberg twice the size of Atlanta is drifting into the ocean off Antarctica, where it broke off in November, and threatens ships, scientists said.

NASA’s Earth Observatory at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland quoted iceberg researcher Grant Bigg from the University of Sheffield in England as saying Wednesday that B31, as the iceberg is called, is now well out of Pine Island Bay and will soon join the more general flow in the Southern Ocean.

Bigg warned that the iceberg threatens shipping because it would be difficult to track during the dark Antarctic winter lasting weeks.

B31 separated from Antarctica’s Pine Island Glacier last November. It covers 255 square miles and could be almost a third of a mile thick, according to scientists. Such size won’t easily melt.

It is not the first time that an iceberg from Antarctica drifted into the ocean. A bigger iceberg called B15 calved off Antarctica’s Ross Ice Shelf in March 2000. The 4,250-square-mile ice– about the size of the state of Connecticut or the island of Jamaica—broke apart and did not cause any shipping accident.

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