Giant ice island breaks in two

Sept. 11, 2010 at 3:45 PM
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NEWARK, Del., Sept. 11 (UPI) -- A giant iceberg four times the size of Manhattan that split off from a Greenland ice sheet last month has split in two, U.S. satellite images show.

The ice island broke apart after smashing into Joe Island, a small rocky outcrop in the Nares Strait west of Greenland, CNN reported Saturday.

The ice island split from the Petermann Glacier in early August, moving up the Petermann Fjord and into the Nares Strait in early September.

The ice island first hit Joe Island last week, and broke apart after repeated collisions.

"The forces of the ocean currents and the winds wiggling it on and off the island were too much," Andreas Muenchow, an associate professor at the University of Delaware, said.

The larger of the two pieces is about 60 square miles, or around 2.5 times the size of the New York borough of Manhattan, while the smaller piece is around 32 square miles, he said.

The break off in August was the biggest in 140 years, Muenchow said.

"We went back to 1876 to find all glacier positions that have ever been reported. From this analysis, we found that this indeed was the largest event that has been observed at Petermann," he said.

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