This coffin-shaped iceberg is headed to die


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That sound you hear is not the splashing of one other iceberg falling into the ocean – it is the proverbial loss of life march.

Almost 20 years in the past, the Ross Ice Shelf, the most important ice shelf in Antarctica at a number of hundred meters thick, noticed an enormous chunk break off, float out to sea and break up once more into a number of giant items. Now, certainly one of these items has began to drift out to hotter waters the place it’s anticipated to die, NASA says.

Often called B-15T, this “coffin-shaped” iceberg is now floating across the South Atlantic, between South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, NASA stated.


“B-15T’s journey to this iceberg graveyard has been a protracted one. Its father or mother berg (B-15) first broke away from the Ross Ice Shelf in March 2000,” the federal government company defined on its web site. “It fractured over time into smaller bergs, lots of which continued using the Antarctic Coastal Present (counter-clockwise) round Antarctica.”

For its complete lifespan, this iceberg went round Antarctica within the Antarctic Coastal Present, going counter-clockwise round Antarctica, NASA defined. However by the latter a part of 2017, the Weddell Sea gyre had “redirected B-15T from its close to circumnavigation and despatched the berg drifting north.”

From there, it entered the Antarctic Circumpolar Present, which “funnels by way of the Drake Passage, then steered the iceberg towards the east and its present location.” At this spot on the Earth, water is considerably hotter than the Southern Ocean and is taken into account “lethal” for icebergs.


NASA/UMBC glaciologist Chris Shuman stated that the odd form was acquired way back and is the byproduct of quite a few collisions, together with hitting the Ross Ice Shelf itself, bedrock alongside the coast and different tabular icebergs.

“The coffin form is an accident of time and area, given the roughly 18.5-year voyage of B-15T,” Shuman stated. “We are able to solely guess on the forces which have acted on this remnant of B-15 alongside the good distance round Antarctica.”

Final month, NASA launched photos of an enormous, flat iceberg with good, proper angles, floating amongst sea ice simply off the Larsen C ice shelf.

Fox Information’ Christopher Carbone contributed to this report. Observe Chris Ciaccia on Twitter @Chris_Ciaccia

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