Pine Island Glacier Gives Birth to Iceberg in Antarctica

NASA scientists first discovered the crack in the PIG in 2011. Photo © NASA Earth Observatory

Breaking news in Antarctica this week: the  2-year-old crack in Antarctica’s Pine Island Glacier (nicknamed PIG) has finally given out.  The PIG calved a new  iceberg larger than the city of Chicago in the Amundsen Sea.  The iceberg measures 278 square miles, which is 8 times the size of the island of Manhattan.

If an Antarctica trip is on your bucket list, it would be wise to go as soon as possible, because scientists are seeing Antarctica glaciers melt faster and faster each year.  

Crack in Pine Island Glacier

Pine Island Glacier cracked to form an iceberg larger than Chicago. Photo © NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

The Pine Island Glacier is the fastest melting glacier on the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, retreating about 2.5 miles (4 km) each year.  Although our first inclination may to blame this on climate change, scientists say that it actually has more to do with changing wind directions, as the wind pushes warm water under the ice shelf, causing it to melt.

Still, the fast-paced melting of the ice shelf is worrisome because it contributes to rising sea levels.  See how the iceberg formed over time with this time-lapse slideshow of the glacier from The BBC.

See gorgeous glaciers and incredible icebergs on an Antarctica adventure cruise with Natural Habitat Adventures!  It’s truly a once in a lifetime experience.