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Mertz Ice Shelf Breaks up in Antartica Forming new Iceberg

Updated on April 11, 2013

If you ever want to see massive icebergs, go to Antartica just off the south Pole.

Satellite imagery has been used to monitor climate change with the belief that the polar ice caps are melting.

A huge iceberg has broken off the Mertz Glacier in Antartica and is drifting loose in the Southern Ocean. The Mertz Glacier protrudes more than 100 miles into the sea and this part is known as the 'tongue'.

Another iceberg, known to scientists as B-9B, struck the tongue earlier this month, around February 13, 2010, according to satellite imagery.

The B-9B, which is 97km by 35km (58miles by 24 miles), is the remainder of one of the biggest icebergs recorded, the B9, that formed (calved) in 1987 from the Ross Ice shelf, then difted westwards for 5 years until it stopped at the Ninnis Bank, about 100 kms east of the Mertz Glacier, where it remained for 18 years until it started moving again late last year.

‘The calving itself is not linked to climate change but it is related to the natural processes occurring on the ice sheet,’ Reuters reported Rob Massom, a scientist at the Australian Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Co-operative Research Centre in Hobart, Tasmania as saying.

The new iceberg is reported to measure 50 miles by 25 miles, making it roughly the same size as Luxembourg, or Tenerife.

It reportedly contains enoughwater to supply the entire population of the world for a year.

Both icebergs are drifting close together approximately 100 miles north of Antartica.

iceberg B9B and the Mertz Glacier
iceberg B9B and the Mertz Glacier

There is a worry that this new calfing could affect global ocean circulation patterns, as previously the tongue of the Mertz Glacier was where icy water entered the deep waters of the oceans, and now that area has been blocked by the new icebergs.

Antartica is much more influential in global weather patterns than the Arctic.

Watch the video below which explains much better than I could the possible effect on global weather patterns.

It was only in December of last year that fear were expressed over the giant B-17B iceberg which looked as if it was collision course for Australia.

It was reckoned that should this iceberg hit land, it would strike with the force of a 3 - 4 earthquake.

Latest reports have said that this iceberg is now much smaller as it has calved several other icebergs, each several kilometres in size, and is melting slowly.

Watch this short video clip for the beautiful scenery in Antartica


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    • IzzyM profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from UK

      I wonder if it is responsible for us havng th coldest March on record here in the Costa Blanca?

    • Fluffymetal profile image


      8 years ago from Texas

      Loved this hub. Very interesting knowledge to know.

    • De Greek profile image

      De Greek 

      8 years ago from UK

      Bless you Child, for being respectful to your elders. Respect has become a rare commodity now days.. :-)

    • IzzyM profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from UK

      Thanks Dad ;)

    • De Greek profile image

      De Greek 

      8 years ago from UK

      What an intersting story. Enough water to supply the entire population of the world for a year. How impressive is that? Good job kid :-)

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      This is amazing stuff and I have been following it. Thanks Izzy.

    • IzzyM profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from UK

      You're welcome :) There is plenty more about it if you google it.

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 

      8 years ago from Chicago

      Wow! This is fascinating to me. I knew nothing about this and I am well pleased to have learned about it from you. Thank you!

    • IzzyM profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from UK

      I thought it was just me not hearing news items because I have no TV, but it seems this has genuinely been dropped from the news. I wonder why?

    • Faybe Bay profile image

      Faye Constantino 

      8 years ago from Florida

      This was amazing. I never knew all this was going on! Thanks for writing it Izzy!

    • Rose West profile image

      Rose West 

      8 years ago from Michigan

      This is really interesting! I've always thought that Antarctica is just fascinating. But I never realized there could be icebergs of this size. Thanks for a great hub!

    • Cathi Sutton profile image

      Cathi Sutton 

      8 years ago

      Great Hub! Thank you so much for reporting this amazing event, and providing the videos! It is truely an awesome event!

    • IzzyM profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from UK

      I only heard about it yesterday. He heard it on the Spanish news and told me so I immediately looked it up. I am fascinated by events such as this! It's a current news feature but you have to search a bit for it.

    • Sage Williams profile image

      Sage Williams 

      8 years ago

      Izzy - I'm so impressed with your research and ability to write a hub of this nature. Very informative and well written. I love to learn.

      Great Job!



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