NASA Satellite Spots Mile-Long Iceberg Breaking Off of Antarctic Glacier

A massive, 1-mile-long (1.6 kilometers) chunk of ice has broken off Antarctica’s fast-changing Pine Island Glacier, and NASA satellites captured the dramatic event as the icy surface cracked and ripped apart.

The Pine Island Glacier is one of the largest glaciers within the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, accounting for about 20 percent of the ice sheet’s total ice flow to the ocean.  The immense glacier is also one of the least stable, and in recent years, the ice sheet has been quickly retreating and losing massive amounts of ice.   Previously, icebergs the size of cities have broken off of the Pine Island Glacier.

The glacier’s last major iceberg break — an event known as calving — was in July 2015, when an iceberg measuring almost 225 square miles (580 square kilometers) separated from Pine Island Glacier.


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