Glaicer produces giant iceberg

LONDON. July 10. KAZINFORM Pine Island Glacier (PIG), the longest and fastest flowing glacier in the Antarctic, has spawned a huge iceberg.

The block measures about 720 sq km in area - roughly eight times the size of Manhattan Island in New York.

Scientists have been waiting for the PIG to calve since October 2011 when they first noticed a spectacular crack spreading across its surface, BBC informs.

Confirmation that the fissure had extended the full width of the glacier was obtained on Monday.

It was seen by the German TerraSAR-X satellite.

This carries a radar instrument that can detect the surface of the ice stream even though the Antarctic is currently in the grip of winter darkness.

The berg that broke away was part of the PIG's ice shelf - the front segment of the glacier that lifts up and floats as it pushes out into the ocean. The shelf will reach tens of km beyond the grounding line.

German researchers have been receiving images from TerraSAR-X every three days or so, hoping to understand better the processes that drive the glacier forward and prompt it to fracture.

This will help them improve the computer models that are used to forecast future changes in the Antarctic.

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