Tuesday 17 July 2018

'It was like rockets going off' as 6.5km-long iceberg breaks off from Greenland

A huge iceberg towers over houses and buildings after grounding near the village of Innarsuit, a settlement in north-west Greenland. Photo: Getty
A huge iceberg towers over houses and buildings after grounding near the village of Innarsuit, a settlement in north-west Greenland. Photo: Getty

Dean Gray

An iceberg 6.5km long has broken off from a glacier in eastern Greenland.

New York University professor David Holland, an expert in atmospheric and ocean science, said it was "the largest event we've seen in over a decade in Greenland".

A video of the incident was taken by his wife, Denise Holland, of New York University's environmental fluid dynamics laboratory.

They have been camping by the Helheim Glacier for weeks to collect data to better project sea-level changes.

Mr Holland said the time-lapse video, speeded up 20 times, shows "3pc of the annual ice loss of Greenland occur in 30 minutes".

"It sounded like rockets going off," he said, describing it as "a very complex, chaotic, noisy event".

While the couple are studying Greenland, he said that "the real concern is in Antarctica, where everything is so big the stakes are much higher".

In north-western Greenland, another large iceberg has drifted close to a tiny village, causing fear that it could swamp the settlement with a tsunami if it calves.

The iceberg towers over houses on a promontory in the village of Innaarsuit but it is now grounded and had not moved overnight.

A danger zone close to the coast has been evacuated and people have been moved further up a steep slope where the settlement lies.

"We can feel the concern among the residents. We are used to big icebergs, but we haven't seen such a big one before," Susanna Eliassen, a member of the village council in Innaarsuit, said.

Irish Independent

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