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Sunday, May 3, 2009

Icebergs Starting to Break Away from Ice Shelf

Very recent satellite data from the European Space Agency (ESA) confirms that icebergs are now starting to break away from the northern front of the Wilkins Ice Shelf in Antarctica.

If you remember, a large ice bridge that had previously linked the Antarctic mainland (Wilkins Ice Shelf) to Charcot Island had collapsed over three weeks ago. Here is a the link to that story.

The icebergs are calving as a result of fracture zones that have formed over the last 15 years and which turned Wilkins into a fragile and vulnerable ice shelf, according to the ESA News article.

The ESA has a nice satellite animation going back to mid-April, which shows the progression of the iceberg calving process. The loop is on the middle of this page.

There is also a detailed full screen version, but it will take a few minutes to load.

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