On May 22nd this year, astronauts aboard the International Space Station observed and captured an uncommon sighting: a large mountain of ice sailing through the South Atlantic on its way to the equator. The images were published this week by scientists from NASA’s Earth Observatory. According to them, the fate of the iceberg, named B-15Z, is to quickly melt and end its life cycle.
The original iceberg that gave birth to B-15Z broke off the Ross Ice Shelf in March 2000 and started its journey through the waters surrounding Antarctica. At first, iceberg B-15 was a giant island made of ice, at around 4,200 square miles, floating on the sea. Through the years, as time was passing, it gradually started to fall into smaller pieces. In 2014 the largest remnant of B-15, called B-15T, broke apart and created B-15Z. And now this last noticeable fragment is the one captured by the astronauts.
On the way to destruction
Right now, at about 66 square miles, B-15Z is just a tiny fraction of the iceberg that once existed. Still, astronomers from the International Space Station are able to follow its journey, but not for much longer. It is predicted that soon, as it melts, it will become untraceable from space.
After B-15Z’s route was changed by currents, it slowly started moving away from the Drake Passage towards the South Georgia islands. The new course means that the iceberg is drifting through the southern part of the Atlantic Ocean, in the direction of the equator. As B-15Z sails north, the melting water is speeding up the process of its destruction.
In 2000, we witnessed the birth of this giant iceberg and now, a journey that started 18 years ago seems to have come to an end.
Karen and her husband live on a plot of land in British Columbia. They aim to grow and raise a significant part of their food by maintaining a vegetable garden, keeping a flock of backyard chickens and foraging. They are also currently planning a move to a small cabin they hand built. Karen’s academic background in nutrition made her care deeply about real food and seek ways to obtain it. Thus sprung Anna’s interest in backyard gardening, chicken and goat keeping, recycling and self-sufficiency.