19 May 2005

Iceberg drifts into 'backyard'

An iceberg more than twice the size of Malta has drifted hundreds of kilometres to a position off the coast of Australia's Casey station in Antarctica, the government said on Thursday.

Named B15G, the 50-kilometre iceberg is part of a massive ice formation that broke away from the Ross Ice Shelf in Antarctica in March 2000, the Department of Environment and Heritage said.

"As the Antarctic winter closes in, B15G appears as a grey line occupying ninety degrees of arc and defining half our horizon, in places gleaming where the sun reflects off an ice cliff," station leader Dr Jeremy Smith said.

"But often it is sulking in shadow and difficult to distinguish from the sky in the background."

In the past few months B15G, which is 788 square kilometres in area, has drifted more than 1 000 kilometres. It arrived at Vincennes Bay off Casey two weeks ago, he said.

Glaciologists expect B15G to remain grounded for a while before continuing its drift west around the continent.

It is the first iceberg of such huge proportions seen to have entered Vincennes Bay, after moving well south of the typical drift path.

Source: www.news24.com


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