Giant Antarctic iceberg heads towards N.Zealand: experts

Nov 12, 2009
Arctic iceberg. Image: Florida State University

A giant iceberg twice the length of Beijing's "Bird's Nest" Stadium has been spotted floating off Australia and could be headed for New Zealand, scientists said on Thursday.

The chunk, measuring some 700 metres (2,300 feet) long with an estimated depth of 350 metres, caused a stir when it was sighted by experts based on Australia's remote Macquarie Island.

"I've never seen anything like it -- we looked out to the horizon and just saw this huge floating island of ice," said fur seal biologist Dean Miller.

Australian Antarctic Division glaciologist Neal Young said the flat-topped slab could break into dozens of smaller icebergs as it moves in the direction of , causing a possible shipping hazard.

"It's rare to make a sighting like this -- it's certainly impressive-looking," Young told AFP.

He said the had probably split from a major Antarctic ice shelf nine years ago, and said more could be expected in the area if continues.

"If the current trends in global warming were to continue I would anticipate seeing more icebergs and the large ice shelves breaking up," he added.

(c) 2009 AFP

Explore further: As the river rises: Cahokia's emergence and decline linked to Mississippi River flooding

Related Stories

Iceberg crashes into Drygalski Ice Tongue

Apr 08, 2006

An iceberg, C-16, rammed into the Drygalski Ice Tongue, a large sheet of glacial ice in Antarctica, breaking off a huge block and forming a new iceberg.

Icebergs break away from Antarctic iceshelf

Apr 28, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Satellite images show that icebergs have begun to calve from the northern front of the Wilkins Ice Shelf - indicating that the huge shelf has become unstable. This follows the collapse three ...

Envisat Captures Splitting iIceberg

Mar 14, 2008

Envisat captures the break up of the massive A53A iceberg located just east of the South Georgia Island (visible at image bottom) in the southern Atlantic Ocean.

Wilkins Ice Shelf under threat

Nov 28, 2008

(PhysOrg.com) -- New rifts have developed on the Wilkins Ice Shelf that could lead to the opening of the ice bridge that has been preventing the ice shelf from disintegrating and breaking away from the Antarctic ...

Iceberg B15A no longer Earth's largest

Nov 07, 2005

What was the Earth's largest free-floating object for five years -- the B-15A iceberg -- has broken into smaller pieces off Antarctica's Cape Adare.

Recommended for you

Fjords are 'hotspots' in global carbon cycling

7 hours ago

While fjords are celebrated for their beauty, these ecosystems are also major carbon sinks that likely play an important role in the regulation of the planet's climate, new research reveals.

Warm oceans caused hottest Dust Bowl years in 1934/36

8 hours ago

Two ocean hot spots have been found to be the potential drivers of the hottest summers on record for the Central US in 1934 and 1936. The research may also help modern forecasters predict particularly hot ...

Ocean currents disturb methane-eating bacteria

8 hours ago

Offshore the Svalbard archipelago, methane gas is seeping out of the seabed at the depths of several hundred meters. These cold seeps are a home to communities of microorganisms that survive in a chemosynthetic ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.