EcoAlert: Massive New Greenland Iceberg Drifting Toward Canada -Could Threaten Ships, Oil Platforms

3382115.bin The Canadian government's top ice experts have begun planning how to deal with the massive iceberg that broke off a Greenland glacier last week and is expected to drift south over the next two years into East Coast shipping lanes and toward offshore oil platforms.

NASA, the European Space Agency and a host of academic institutions are already helping Canadian officials monitor and analyze the mammoth object, the biggest free-floating mass of ice in the Arctic Ocean in 50 years. The European Space Agency (ESA) image taken on August 7, 2010 shows a giant iceberg breaking off the Petermann Glacier in north-western Greenland about 1,000 kilometers south of the North Pole. The Petermann glacier is one of Greenland's two largest glaciers that end in floating shelves, and connects Greenland's ice sheet directly with the ocean.

Environment Canada's Trudy Wohlleben, the Canadian Ice Service forecaster who first spotted last Thursday's birth of Petermann Ice Island 2010, said Tuesday that federal scientists plan to parachute beacons onto the 250-square-kilometre monolith next month to help track its movements along Ellesmere and Baffin islands and, eventually, down the coasts of Labrador and Newfoundland.

Icebergs calved from Greenland's glaciers and floating ice shelves typically follow that Canadian route south, as did the huge one that struck and sank the Titanic in 1912.

Casey Kazan



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