Melt Water Pools on A39-D Iceberg off South Georgia (False Color) •

Last update: June 20th, 2019 at 5:00 pm

Leaving a trail of white ice in its wake, the A-39D iceberg is gradually melting as it drifts northwest past South Georgia Island. The iceberg began life as part of the giant A-38 iceberg that broke from Antarctica’s Ronne Ice Shelf in October 1998. The A-38 iceberg was initially more than 145 kilometers (90 miles) long and 48 kilometers (30 miles) wide, one of the largest to form in the past decade. The A-39D iceberg separated from the A-38 iceberg, and is about 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) wide and 11 kilometers (6.8 miles) long.

As the iceberg has drifted into warmer water, it has begun to melt. Aquamarine pools of water are visible on top of the berg in the MODIS images captured on February 7 and 9, 2004, near the peak of summer in the Southern Hemisphere. The accompanying false-color images show that the most of iceberg is covered in dark blue liquid water. The remaining ice and clouds appear light blue. In the time between February 7 and February 9, the meltwater pool grew to cover the entire iceberg.

The iceberg appears to be moving toward the tip of South America, which about 2,156 km (1340 miles) to the west. South Georgia Island, visible on the right edge of the image, is 1,609 km (1000 miles) north of Antarctica.

Credit: Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC

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