To the surprise of scientists, a large iceberg has broken off the Pine Island Glacier in West Antarctica well in advance of predictions.
The new iceberg detached from the glacier when a crack, which initially formed in mid-2000, spread rapidly until it reached the breaking point. The iceberg's birth was captured in a series of images taken by NASA's Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer. These images, combined with previous measurements and data from other instruments, provide scientists with additional evidence of rapid change in the region.
The image sequence and an animation are available online at:
The first image was captured in late 2000, early in the development of the crack. The second and third views were acquired in November 2001, just before and just after the formation of the new iceberg.
The Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer, built and managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., is one of several Earth-observing experiments aboard the Terra satellite, launched in December 1999. The instrument acquires images of Earth at nine angles simultaneously, using nine separate cameras pointed forward, downward, and backward along its flight path. More information is available at:
JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.