Iceberg Breaks, Again

May 1, 2001 | Mike Key

Remember B-15? In March last year, a giant piece of the Ross Ice Shelf broke off, or calved. In time-honored fashion, it was called B-15. B for its quadrant in the southern ocean, 15 for its number in the series. It was past time for the ice shelf to break; the cycle of ice breaking and renewing itself is about 50 years or so.

B-15 was so big that in two weeks, it had broken into pieces B-15A, B-15B and at least two smaller parts. It also had nudged away other portions of the shelf, new icebergs in their own right.

One year later, B-15B has nearly cleared its way around Cape Adare, roughly about 930 to 950 kilometers (or about 575 to 600 miles) from its original position, and has broken into two pieces, while B-15A continues to jostle back and forth in the relatively protected waters near Ross Island.

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