Iceberg FIVE times the size of Malta breaks off glacier in Antarctica

Iceberg FIVE times the size of Malta breaks off glacier in Antarctica – the largest in 50 years – but experts aren’t blaming climate change

  • Iceberg, classified as D28, is  631 square miles in area and 688 feet thick
  • Nicknamed, Loose Tooth, it recently broke off the Amery ice shelf in Antarctica 
  • Scientists were expecting this event to occur between 2010 and 2015
  • Said the event is not related to  climate change 

An iceberg five times the size of Malta has broken off Antarctica.

The D28 iceberg was captured by the European Union Earth Observation Program calving from the Amery ice shelf.

Known as ‘Loose Tooth’, this iceberg is 688 feet thick and contains 347 billion tons of ice –scientists are not connecting this event to climate change, but have concerns about ships traveling in its path.

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An iceberg five times the size of Malta has broken off Antarctica. The D28 iceberg was captured by the European Union Earth Observation Program calving from the Amery ice shelf

Although some may point to climate change as the cause for the separation, Scripps and her team say this event is not linked to it. 

Scientists have said that this is a natural event and this is how ‘ice streams maintain equilibrium, balancing the input of snow upstream’, according to BBC NEWS. 

Glacier calving is a natural occurrence caused by the forward motion of a glacier making its end unstable.

During a calving event, part of the end of a glacier drops off, often forming an iceberg.

Calving of glaciers is often accompanied by a loud cracking or booming sound before blocks of ice up to 60 metres (200 ft) high break loose and crash into the water.

The entry of this ice into the water can cause large and hazardous waves.

Amery is the third largest ice shelf in Antarctica, and extends inland from Prydz and MacKenzei bays – both feed into the Indian Ocean. 

The ‘calving’, or breaking away, of a massive iceberg from the Amery glacier has not happened since the early 1960s – a chunk of ice that was 3,474 square miles in area, according to BBC News.

D28 was only 631 square miles, which is just a little smaller than Scotland’s Isle of Skye, but still poses a threat to ships traveling in its path.

However, scientists were expecting this Loose Tooth to break off.

Professor Helen Fricker from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography had predicted this event back in 2002 — suggesting it would calve sometime between 2010 and 2015.

‘It is the molar compared to a baby tooth,’ Professor Fricker told BBC News. 

‘I am excited to see this calving event after all these years. We knew it would happen eventually, but just to keep us all on our toes, it is not exactly where we expected it to be.’ 

Although some may point to climate change as the cause for the separation, Scripps and her team say this event is not linked to it. Scientists have said that this is a natural event and this is how ‘ice streams maintain equilibrium, balancing the input of snow upstream’

The ‘calving’, or breaking away, of a massive iceberg from the Amery glacier has not happened since the early 1960s

‘While there is much to be concerned about in Antarctica, there is no cause for alarm yet for this particular ice shelf,’ Prof Fricker added.

The Australian Antarctic Division will however be watching Amery closely to see if it reacts at all.  

However, it is possible that the stress of the geometry across the front of D28.

This could affect the behavior of how the iceberg cracks and its stability. 

The label ‘D28’  derives from a classification system and letters are assigned to icebergs depending on its location.

The D quadrant covers the longitudes 90 degrees East to zero degrees, the Prime Meridian. 

D28 is dwarfed by the mighty A68 berg, which broke away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in 2017. 

It currently covers an area more than three times as big.

Nearshore currents and winds will carry D28 westwards. It’s likely to take several years for it to break apart and melt completely.

 

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