Image of the Week - Pine Island Glacier’s Newest Iceberg

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Detailed Description

These Landsat 8 images show the latest iceberg to break free in Antarctica's Pine Island. Warmer ocean waters are melting the ice from beneath, causing increasing instability.

At the USGS EROS Center, we study land change, operate the Landsat satellites, and maintain the longest, continuously acquired collection of images of the Earth's land surface.

USGS EROS Center (


Date Taken:

Length: 00:00:52

Location Taken: Pine Island, AQ


Pine Island Glacier in
Antarctica has snapped

off its share of icebergs
in recent years, evidence

that the ice shelf is
becoming increasingly

fragile. The latest
iceberg broke off around

September 23rd.
Named B-44, this new iceberg

covers over 70 square miles.
Landsat 8 images one week

apart show the iceberg
separating from the end

of the ice shelf.
As Pine Island glacier

continues thinning and
retreating, more inland

ice will be allowed to flow
to the ocean, contributing

to sea level rise.

The dark spot in these images
is open water, called a polynya.

They form where warmer ocean
water rises to the surface.

A cavity underneath the ice
shelf is allowing streams

of warmer ocean water to
melt it from underneath.