18:20 13 November 2013
An adrift iceberg, which is reportedly a big as Singapore, is now threatening shipping lanes if it doesn’t follow its trajectory.
UK researchers were awarded £50,000 grant and are now tasked to track the iceberg’s movements. Recent images show several kilometres of water between the iceberg, estimated to be about 700 sq km (270 sq miles), and the glacier that spawned the block.
Principal investigator Grant Bigg from the University of Sheffield explains: "From the time it had been found that the crack had gone all the way across in July, it had stayed iced-in because it was still winter (in Antarctica).”
"But in the last couple of days, it has begun to break away and now a kilometre or two of clear water has developed between it and the glacier.
"It often takes a while for bergs from this area to get out of Pine Island Bay but once they do that they can either go eastwards along the coast or they can… circle out into the main part of the Southern Ocean.
Prof Biggs told BBC News that the iceberg is expected to go through The Drake Passage – the body of water between Antarctica’s South Shetland Islands and South America’s Cape Horn. However, if it doesn’t follow this trajectory, the iceberg may get into busy international shipping lanes and cause havok.
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