Speed Reads


Gigantic iceberg breaks off from Antarctic glacier

NASA Earth Observatory

An iceberg six times the size of Manhattan is on the loose after breaking off of an Antarctic glacier.

The B31 iceberg covers close to 255 square miles and is up to one-third of a mile thick, making it one of the largest currently in existence, Reuters reports. It broke free from the Pine Island Glacier last November, according to NASA glaciologist Kelly Brunt.

"It's one that's large enough that it warrants monitoring," Brunt told Reuters. "It's like a large sheet cake floating through the Southern Ocean."

The iceberg has made its way across Pine Island Bay, in the Amundsen Sea (between Antarctica and South America), and most likely will be swept up by the fast-moving currents of the Southern Ocean. Scientists are not concerned with the iceberg crashing into ships, as there's not a lot of traffic in the vicinity; what they are most interested in is the Pine Island Glacier itself, which has been "thinning and draining rapidly," and could be contributing to sea level rise. --Catherine Garcia