Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Enormous Iceberg May Be In Its Death Throes; Collisions With Another Large Berg May Doom B-15a To A Breakup

Date:
February 15, 2002
Source:
National Science Foundation
Summary:
For perhaps the last time, a researcher has visited iceberg B-15A, an enormous fragment of ice that broke away from Antarctica’s Ross Ice Shelf in March 2000. During a one-hour visit on Jan. 29 (New Zealand time), Douglas MacAyeal of the University of Chicago upgraded the software of an automated weather station on the enormous piece of ice that helps track the iceberg’s position and reports on the microclimate of the ice surface.

For perhaps the last time, a researcher has visited iceberg B-15A, an enormous fragment of ice that broke away from Antarctica’s Ross Ice Shelf in March 2000.

Related Articles


During a one-hour visit on Jan. 29 (New Zealand time), Douglas MacAyeal of the University of Chicago upgraded the software of an automated weather station on the enormous piece of ice that helps track the iceberg’s position and reports on the microclimate of the ice surface. MacAyeal’s work is supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) through the U.S. Antarctic Program. MacAyeal and other researchers placed weather stations on the iceberg a year ago. This year, MacAyeal flew twice to B-15A on U.S. Coast Guard helicopters to update the software that allows the weather stations to transmit data and to adjust the sensors that measure wind speed.

MacAyeal said that collisions between B-15A and a much smaller, though still impressive, iceberg, dubbed C-16, have begun the process of breaking up the bigger berg. He suspects B15A will crumble into pieces and drift northward away from McMurdo Sound when summer returns to Antarctica, almost a year from now.

“B-15A is ripe” for a breakup, he said. “But it’s a ‘wait and-see’ sort of thing.” During the flights to and from the iceberg from McMurdo Station, the main NSF research station in Antarctica, MacAyeal pointed out enormous cracks developing on the berg’s surface. He also noted areas where the two icebergs have ground together, generating as much as 4,000 pounds per square inch of pressure.

A zone between the two bergs features both narrow ice canyons 30 meters (100 feet) deep and spacious bays, in which icebergs that ordinarily would be thought of as colossal seem insignificant in comparison with their larger neighbors. MacAyeal noted that few human eyes have seen such phenomena.

The collisions, he said, accelerate the breakup of both bergs and the movement of the remaining fragments out to sea.

By observing B-15A and C-16, “we’ve learned that collisions of this nature provide a force that helps propel an iceberg on its track,” MacAyeal said.

He added that it is possible that scientists may be observing for the first time a cycle in which portions of the Ross Ice Shelf break off and fall into the sea as giant icebergs. The National Ice Center, in Suitland, Md., reported that a new iceberg, dubbed C-17, broke away from the Ross Shelf on Feb. 7. C17, which broke away from the Matusevich Glacier, is estimated to be 58 square miles in area, or roughly the size of Manhattan Island.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by National Science Foundation. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

National Science Foundation. "Enormous Iceberg May Be In Its Death Throes; Collisions With Another Large Berg May Doom B-15a To A Breakup." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 February 2002. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/02/020215070413.htm>.
National Science Foundation. (2002, February 15). Enormous Iceberg May Be In Its Death Throes; Collisions With Another Large Berg May Doom B-15a To A Breakup. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/02/020215070413.htm
National Science Foundation. "Enormous Iceberg May Be In Its Death Throes; Collisions With Another Large Berg May Doom B-15a To A Breakup." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/02/020215070413.htm (accessed December 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Monday, December 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

New Fish Species Discovered, Setting Record for World's Deepest

New Fish Species Discovered, Setting Record for World's Deepest

Buzz60 (Dec. 22, 2014) A new species of fish is discovered living five miles beneath the ocean surface, making it the deepest living fish on earth. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Lava Inches Closer to Highway

Raw: Lava Inches Closer to Highway

AP (Dec. 21, 2014) Officials have opened a new road on Hawaii's Big Island for drivers to take care of their daily needs if encroaching lava from Kilauea Volcano crosses a highway and cuts them off from the rest of the island. (Dec. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Cheap Oil Help Fix U.S. Roads?

Could Cheap Oil Help Fix U.S. Roads?

Newsy (Dec. 21, 2014) As falling oil prices boost Americans' spending power, the U.S. government is also gaining flexibility from savings on oil. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Russian Surfers Brave Icy Cold Waters

Raw: Russian Surfers Brave Icy Cold Waters

AP (Dec. 20, 2014) Surfers in Russia's biggest port city on the Pacific Ocean, Vladivostok, were enjoying the sport on Saturday despite below freezing temperatures and icy cold waters. (Dec. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins