The Antarctic continent - picture 33 of 60
© by Alexander Gerst 2002
At places where the slow but steady moving masses of ice break over a ridge, they form ice falls with a height of several hundred metres. These flow into the Ross ice shelf and get dragged away by the moving shelf, causing the flow patterns that are visible in the lower right corner of the picture. The Ross ice shelf is a 300 to 700 m thick, solid ice plate of the size of France, constantly moving north towards the sea at around 3 metres per day. On the seaward side of this gigantic ice cube, large icebergs break off and start their drifting journey towards north. The largest iceberg that has ever been observed broke off in 2000 after a 10 year warning, with a size of 300 x 40 km, which is a quarter of the area of Switzerland. Romantic scientists gave it the name "B-15".
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