A giant iceberg with a surface area of 100 square miles has broken off the Petermann Glacier on Greenland’s northwest coast.
Thousands of icebergs are created each year by Greenland’s glaciers, but this is the largest since 1962, according to Professor Andreas Muenchow of the University of Delaware.
“In the early morning hours of August 5, 2010, an ice island four times the size of Manhattan was born in northern Greenland,” Muenchow said.
Muenchow is very familiar with the area because he conducts research in the Nares Strait between Canada and Greenland, supported by the National Science Foundation.
He said the iceberg could become frozen in place or it could drift south in the strait and threaten shipping channels.
“In Nares Strait, the ice island will encounter real islands that are all much smaller in size,” Muenchow said. “The newly born ice-island may become land-fast, block the channel, or it may break into smaller pieces as it is propelled south by the prevailing ocean currents. From there, it will likely follow along the coasts of Baffin Island and Labrador, to reach the Atlantic within the next two years.”
To give you an idea of just how big the iceberg is, Muenchow said it contains enough fresh water to keep the Hudson River flowing for two years. If that doesn’t help give you a mental image, try this: Muenchow said the iceberg contains enough water to provide all of the tap water in the United States for 120 days.
Trudy Wohlleben of the Canadian Ice Service discovered the new ‘island’ Thursday after studying NASA satellite images.
Some tour companies offer trips to Greenland’s ice fjords. Some depart from Greenland’s capital, Nuuk (Godthab).
The entire country (part of the Kingdom of Denmark) has a population of less than 60,000, so there are not a lot of services. Getting to Greenland from Chicago is also tricky. Nearly all international flights to the country depart from Copenhagen or Iceland.
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