Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

7/11/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Floating freely in Amundsen Sea, iceberg broke off from Pine Island Glacier

Floating freely in the Amundsen Ocean, a huge iceberg, larger than Chicago, broke off of Antarctica's Pine Island this week. German scientists say the newborn iceberg measures about 278 square miles and was seen by TerraSAR-X, an earth-observing satellite operated by the German Space Agency.

Satellite images in May of last year revealed a second rift had formed near the northern side of the first crack.

Satellite images in May of last year revealed a second rift had formed near the northern side of the first crack.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

7/11/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in Green

Keywords: Iceberg, Antarctica, climate change, Pine Island Glacier, scientists


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The iceberg was first noticed by NASA's Operation Ice Bridge. A giant crack in was discovered in the Pine Island Glacier in October of 2011, as researchers flew over and surveyed the sprawling ice sheet.

The fissure at that time spanned about 15 miles in length and 164 feet in width. Satellite images in May of last year revealed a second rift had formed near the northern side of the first crack.

"As a result of these cracks, one giant iceberg broke away from the glacier tongue," Angelika Humbert, a glaciologist at the Alfred Wegener Institute said in a statement.

Humbert along with fellow scientists studied high resolution radar images taken by the TerraSAR-X satellite to track the changes in the two cracks.

"Using the images we have been able to follow how the larger crack on the Pine Island Glacier extended initially to a length of 17 miles," Nina Wilkens, one of the team researchers from the Alfred Wegener Institute said in a statement. "Shortly before the 'birth' of the iceberg, the gap then widened bit by bit so that it measured around 1,770 feet at its widest point."

The way the ice breaks, or "calves," is still somewhat mysterious, Humbert notes.

"Glaciers are constantly in motion," she said. "They have their very own flow dynamics. Their ice is exposed to permanent tensions and the calving of icebergs is still largely unresearched."

The longest and fastest-changing on the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, the Pine Island Glacier ice shelf is the part of the glacier that extends out into the water. The glacier last produced large icebergs in 2001 and 2007.

While Humbert and her colleagues did not draw direct connections between this week's calving event and climate change, other scientists are investigating whether global warming is thinning Antarctica's ice sheets and speeding up the glacier's retreat.

Humbert says that the flow of the Pine Island Glacier may be driven by other factors. The glacier flows to the Amundsen Sea at a rate of about 2.5 miles per year. Whether the flow speeds up or slows down is based more on changing wind directions in the Amundsen Sea, and less by rising air temperatures.

"The wind now brings warm sea water beneath the shelf ice," Humbert said. "Over time, this process means that the shelf ice melts from below, primarily at the so-called grounding line, the critical transition to the land ice."

If the glacier's flow speeds up, it could have serious consequences, the researchers said. The Pine Island Glacier currently acts as a plug, holding back part of the immense West Antarctic Ice Sheet whose melting ice contributes to rising sea levels.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2015
Universal:
Scientists: That those involved in scientific research may serve the well-being of the whole human person.
Evangelization: Contribution of women: That the unique contribution of women to the life of the Church may be recognized always.


Rosaries, Crosses, Prayer Cards and more... by Catholic Shopping .com


Comments


More Green

NASA steps up in discovering extraterrestrial life Watch

Image of NASA plans to bring astronauts to Mars by 2020 to search for any possible signs of life.

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

NASA's chief scientist Ellen Stofan, stated at a Washington panel discussion, that in a decade or so, there will be strong indications of life outside Earth. Stofan added that "aliens" doesn't necessarily refer to "little green men" but, this could mean "little ... continue reading


Extremely rare 'adorable' Pocket Shark discovered in Gulf of Mexico Watch

Image of The Pocket Shark is a marine animal with

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Thirty-six years ago, a pocket shark was discovered off the Peru coast, and just recently, another pocket shark, reported to be only the second one seen by humans, was discovered in a study conducted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), ... continue reading


Is Yellowstone's supervolcano ready to blow? Scientists find thousands of cubic miles of magma under volcano Watch

Image of Thousands of cubic miles of magma exists under Yellowstone national park that has only recently been discovered and mapped.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Scientists have completed mapping out a new reservoir of magma underneath Yellowstone's massive supervolcano. The magma was found about 12 to 28 miles beneath the surface of the volcano and with computer mapping technology scientists have determined that it is ... continue reading


New discovery on mysterious vampire squid shocks scientists Watch

Image of

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The number of species we have successfully discovered throughout history are only about a fifth of the speculated total number of them coexisting with us. In a recent discovery, it was found that the vampire squid has distinct difference from the true squid we know of. ... continue reading


'Apocalyptic' dust storms leave experts speechless, causes remain unclear Watch

Image of The phenomenon has occurred over decades in the past, according to a European scientist.

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Unexplained phenomena of strong dust storms are sweeping cities all over the globe, blocking the sun and darkening the day. The massive dust storms, known as haboob in Arabic, begun polluting some parts of the world at the beginning of the year. Theories surfaced as ... continue reading


What NASA found on Mars will shock you! Watch

Image of Liquid water has been found in Martian soil, but that doesn't mean life is likely to be found.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

There is liquid water on Mars, Nasa has announced following tests done by the Curiosity rover. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - This news contradicts decades of thought that Earth's neighbor was too cold and arid for liquid water to exist, and may mean that ... continue reading


Experts fear massive asteroid will hit Earth in next 3 years Watch

Image of

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A huge asteroid, with an estimated size of 10 to 40m, is expected to come in contact with Earth, closer than it did the last time. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - Asteroid 2012 TC4 was approximated at about the size of the Statue of Liberty from the torch ... continue reading


Gray whale swims from Russia to Mexico in 172 days, breaking all known records Watch

Image of Before Vavara's accomplishment, the title of the longest-migrating mammal belonged to the humpback whale.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A female western gray whale from Russia now holds the record as the mammal with the longest known migration, researchers say. Named Vavara, which is the Russian equivalent fro "Barbara," the plucky whale swam a total of 13,988 miles in 172 days. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


Are farmers stealing precious water away from California's Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta? Watch

Image of As California enters the fourth year of drought, huge amounts of water are mysteriously vanishing from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, and farmers whose families for generations have tilled fertile soil there are the prime suspects.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Entering its fourth year of drought, large amounts of water is mysteriously vanishing from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Farmers who have used the delta for generations are the prime suspects. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Complaints from two large ... continue reading


Small songbirds complete extraordinary nonstop flights across the Atlantic Ocean Watch

Image of The blackpoll warbler songbirds (Setophaga striata) migrate every autumn from Vermont and Nova Scotia in New England to Puerto Rico, Cuba and the Greater Antilles islands in South America.

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Using backpack flight recorders, scientists have discovered that the blackpoll warbler songbirds are able fly nonstop across the Atlantic Ocean. These tiny songbirds, weighing about 4.2 ounces (119 grams), were able to complete the flight without a stop for over 1,410 ... continue reading


All Green News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Acts 11:1-18
1 The apostles and the brothers in Judaea heard that ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 42:2-3; 43:3, 4
2 I thirst for God, the living God; when shall I go ... Read More

Gospel, John 10:1-10
1 'In all truth I tell you, anyone who does not enter ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for April 27th, 2015 Image

St. Zita
April 27: St. Zita was born into a poor but holy Christian family. Her ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter