Antarctica's ross ice shelf breaks again

March 29, 2000

MADISON -- A new, massive iceberg has broken from Antarctica's Ross Ice Shelf, just east of one discovered on March 17. Senior researcher Matthew Lazzara of the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Antarctic Meteorological Research Center found the latest iceberg on polar-orbiting satellite imagery taken this morning, March 30.

The new iceberg, said Lazzara, lies to the north and east of Roosevelt Island and is slightly smaller than the iceberg discovered earlier. The new iceberg is 130 km by 20 km (80 by 12 miles). The larger iceberg is 295 km by 37 km (about 183 by 23 miles, roughly the size of Jamaica). Lazzara continues to monitor the icebergs via satellite imagery.

The National Ice Center numbers icebergs as they are discovered; the new iceberg will be most likely named B-17.

The Antarctic Meteorological Research Center is the only Antarctic site that provides real-time satellite imagery. "The high-resolution satellite data that we receive enables us to track these bergs easily, at least in clear conditions," Lazzara says.

The eastern end of B-15, the first large iceberg discovered earlier this month, can be seen hitting the new iceberg, corroborating geophysical predictions of "tidal jostling" stimulating another calving (or ice shelf breakage).

UW-Madison's AMRC is housed at the Space Science and Engineering Center and is supported primarily by the National Science Foundation.
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-- Terri Gregory, 608-263-3373; terri.gregory@ssec.wisc.edu

University of Wisconsin-Madison

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