|Peterman Ice Island, Image from NASA|
Astronaut photograph taken on August 29, 2011from the International Space Station
The image is NASA's Earth Observatory image of the day today (Sept. 16), and the accompanying description discusses how it is behaving in some ways as if it was still a glacier instead of an iceberg. Specifically, during these warm summer months ice on top melts and water forms streams and ponds as it moves downhill toward the edges of the ice. Sometimes the water hits a crevass and drains out the bottom of the ice instead of making it all the way to the edge.
The features that caught my eye in this photo above are the incredible meandering streams.More than a year ago, a chunk of ice five times the size of Manhattan broke off of Greenland's Petermann Glacier (reference for this post is here.) It is smaller now (4 x 3.5 kilometers), having splintered several times in its journey of a few thousand kilometers on the ocean. This piece is referred to as Petermann Ice Island A, fragment 2, and it is currently off the northeast coast of Newfoundland. During August it became stuck for 11 days on a shoal or shallow sea floor. It broke free on August 18, but within a week had split into two large pieces.