Some anticipated the collision of the century: the vast, drifting B15-A iceberg was apparently on collision course with the floating pier of ice known as the Drygalski ice tongue. Whatever actually happens from here, Envisats radar vision will pierce through Antarctic clouds to give researchers a ringside seat.
A collision was predicted to have already occurred by now by some authorities, but B-15As drift appears to have slowed markedly in recent days, explains Mark Drinkwater of ESAs Ice/Oceans Unit: "The iceberg may have run aground just before colliding. This supports the hypothesis that the seabed around the Drygalski ice tongue is shallow, and surrounded by deposits of glacial material that may have helped preserve it from past collisions, despite its apparent fragility. "What may be needed to release it from its present stalled location is for the surface currents to turn it into the wind, combined with help from a mixture of wind, tides and bottom melting to float it off its perch."
To follow events for yourself, visit ESAs Earthwatching site, where the latest images from Envisats Advanced Synthetic Aperture Radar (ASAR) instrument are being posted online daily.
Mariangela D’Acunto | alfa
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