Antarctic iceberg: Giant ‘white wanderer’ poised to break free

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Antarctic iceberg: Giant ‘white wanderer’ poised to break free

British astronaut Tim Peake photographed an orbit that would be just inside the outskirts of central London. But 26 km by 13 km (16 miles in 8000), it was a tiddler relative to Berg, which is about to separate from the side of the Antarctic Peninsula.

A fault has developed along the ice shelf Larsen C. A thin section of 5 km long floating platform is now all that berg prevents 6000 km2 from drifting in the Weddell Sea.

Consider the size of a moment. This is more than a quarter of the area of ​​Wales.
Place of Larsen C agglomeration
Anxious to collect more statistics, scientists have used the CryoSat spacecraft to run the domain over putative iceberg.

As we all know, ice blocks are mostly underwater, and the satellite of the European Space Agency (ESA) has a special radar altimeter can determine to what extent.

From the orbit, CryoSat detects the height of the ice that adheres to the surface – the freeboard call. It is then a relatively simple calculation to calculate the project – the hidden part underwater.

“CryoSat has two radar antennas that allow broadband in the berg and allow us to build an elevation model,” Noel Gourmelen told BBC University of Edinburgh.

Drifting trajectories (red lines) countless icebergs were followed throughout the Antarctic continent (black). This collective history strongly suggests that the Larsen block will head towards the South Atlantic

All this is very useful information because it tells scientists much about the place and speed at which the Larsen object could move when it was free. And it is critical details if the berg was to reach the navigation routes to become a danger to navigation.

The Berg are influenced by winds and currents, of course, but some other factors also come only play due to the large mass of the Larsen object. Surprisingly, one is a gravitational effect.

The Antarctic mass draws more water near its shores against the center of the ocean – about half a meter. Berg Larsen slides down the slope. But that’s only if your keel does not stop at the bottom of the ocean.

Plowmarks: icebergs bows down deep channels in bottom sediments
The waters surrounding the Antarctic are shallow and there is a good chance that the creaking berg, digging a huge valley at the bottom of the sea as it rotates. Information on the thickness of the researchers indicates that the CryoSat berg can and can not g0.

It is called “kedging” – a term used by seamen, invented by the use of anchor stall to manipulate the price of a vessel, said Dr. Mark Drinkwater, one of the top scientific observation that land.

“Icebergs often tilt and pivot or rotate around their ground point, resulting in a stop and a movement or a change in direction. This way the Larsen C iceberg might take some time before little water escapes Deep waters of the western Weddell Sea.
Dr. Anna Hogg, University of Leeds, added: “That said, it is not impossible to get caught up in a topography of the bottom of the ocean, as we have seen before. An iceberg island ice becomes a semi-permanent in the Weddell Mer “.

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