NASA satellites observed the calving, or breaking off, of one of the largest icebergs ever recorded, named "C-19."
ICEBERG C-19 IN THE ROSS SEA, ANTARCTICA
The C-1 iceberg broke off the Ross shelf in May 2002. This is an image from NASAs Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on the Terra satellite. CREDIT: NASA MODIS Rapid Response Team
MOVEMENT OF THE C-19 ICEBERG
This is a map of the southwestern Ross Sea showing the drift path taken by iceberg C-19 beginning May 11, 2002 and moving up in the diagram. Also shown is the B-15A iceberg. CREDIT: Stanford University
C-19 separated from the western face of the Ross Ice Shelf in Antarctica in May 2002, splashed into the Ross Sea, and virtually eliminated a valuable food source for marine life. The event was unusual, because it was the second-largest iceberg to calve in the region in 26 months.
Over the last year, the path of C-19 inhibited the growth of minute, free-floating aquatic plants called phytoplankton during the icebergs temporary stopover near Pennell Bank, Antarctica. C-19 is located along the Antarctic coast and has diminished little in size. Since phytoplankton is at the base of the food chain, C-19 affects the food source of higher-level marine plants and animals.
Rob Gutro | GSFC
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