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Published:September 17th, 2010 18:25 EST
Is Greenland Breaking Apart? Massive Island of Ice Breaks Away

Is Greenland Breaking Apart? Massive Island of Ice Breaks Away

By Inactive Writer

A massive block of ice covering an area of 100 square miles has broken away from the Petermann glacier along the northwest coast of Greenland, leaving the 43-mile long glacier without one quarter of its mass.

glaciersThe glacier, which is 620 miles south of the North Pole, was observed by scientists last year. They noticed some cracking in the glacier and expected such an event - an engineer, Patrick Lockerby, told BBC News he predicted the calve July 22 by observing images of the ice shelf. 

It is not clear as to whether or not this is an effect of global warming, however, the first six months of 2010 have been the warmest according to record worldwide. 

The main concern with this ice island is interference with shipping routes if it drifts south. However, Lockerby says the calve could have a beneficial effect if the mass of emancipated ice drifts to block the Nares Strait and prevents any further loss of ice from the Lincoln Sea. Winter will tell whether or not the block of ice stays frozen in place or begins to drift.

The block of ice contains enough fresh water to maintain all public US tap water supply for 120 days, and is over four times the size of Manhattan.

Note: The author of this article is no longer affiliated with theSOP.