Image of the Week - Update on Pine Island Glacier

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Detailed Description

Antarctica's Pine Island Glacier has calved another iceberg. These Landsat images show the progression since just before the break in September until now.

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: 00:00:54

Location Taken: AQ


A massive iceberg broke
off Pine Island Glacier,

Antarctica, in
September 2017.

The September 21st image
was acquired days before

the iceberg broke off.
A rift runs across the

glacier almost 8 kilometers
from the calving face.

Instead of drifting out
to sea after calving,

sea ice blocked the iceberg’s
movement. By January 2, the

iceberg had broken into
countless pieces. The dark

feature is a polynya, an
area of warmer water, which

likely caused the breakup.
Long sunlight hours during

the Antarctic summer mean
Landsat 8 acquires images

roughly every 3 days in
December and January.

This helps track the
movements of the ice and

project future behavior
of the glacier.