Huge Ice Island Near Labrador ‘s Coast
Huge ice island off Labrador’coast. Image source: NASA, Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC. Caption by Michael Carlowicz.
By Michael Carlowicz, NASA
Nearly 11 months after calving off of the northwestern coast of Greenland, a massive ice island is now caught up in ocean currents off the coast of Labrador, Canada.
The ice island, known as “Petermann Ice Island” was formed when a 251-square-kilometer (97-square-mile) chunk of ice broke off the Petermann Glacier on August 5, 2010. The Canadian Ice Service has since been tracking the ice island, dubbed PII-A, via satellite and radio beacon.
The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this natural-color image of the ice island on June 25, 2011. The northeast-facing coast of Labrador is mostly obscured by thin, wispy clouds, as it has been for much of the past week.
News agencies reported that the ice island stretched roughly 62 square kilometers in area and weighed between 3.5 and 4 billion tons.
The island has been slowly breaking up and melting on its journey—nearly 30 degrees of latitude, or more than 3,000 kilometers—but it could eventually pose a hazard to shipping lanes off Newfoundland.
Canadian fishermen captured this close-up video of the ice island.
WATCH: Ice Island Off labrador’s Coast, Close-up Video, “Petermann Ice Island video.”
Huge ice island near Labrador ‘blew’ scientist’s mind
A huge island of ice the size of Manhattan is drifting off the coast of Labrador, and it’s a glacial event that has scientists around the world abuzz.”It blew my mind at how big it was,” said Sara Weikamp, a marine science technician with the U.S. Coast Guard.