Iceberg seen floating

November 14, 2009

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DEAN Miller, an Australian fur seal biologist, was the first person to spot the large white object floating past Macquarie island.

“I've never seen anything like it. We looked out to the horizon and just saw this huge floating island of ice,” Miller told the Australian Antarctic division. “It was a monumental moment for me as it was the first iceberg I have seen.”Estimated to be about 50m high — from the waterline — and 500m long, the iceberg is currently to be found floating about 8km off the north-west of Macquarie island, halfway between New Zealand and Antarctica.

Scientists have said it is rare for icebergs to be seen so far north. Neil Young, an Australian Antarctic division glaciologist, said “The iceberg is likely to be part of one of the big ones that calved from the Ross ice shelf nearly a decade ago. “Throughout the year several icebergs have been drifting slowly northwards with the ocean current towards Macquarie Island. We know there are also a few more icebergs 100km-200km to the west of the island.”

Several huge icebergs broke off from Antarctica's Ross ice shelf and the Ronne ice shelf in 2000 and are now drifting away from Antarctica. The first was about 300km long and 37km wide.

— The Guardian, London