Iceberg Towers Over Greenland Village

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Image Credit: NASA/USGS/Joshua Stevens/Kathryn Hansen.

In July 2018, an iceberg weighing 11 million tons parked just offshore of Innaarsuit, a small island village in northwestern Greenland. Ground-based photographs show its impressive height as it towered over the small village.

“This is absolutely beautiful,” said Kelly Brunt, a glaciologist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. “The z dimension (height) is pretty extreme.” When viewed from space, however, the iceberg is like a “Where’s Waldo?” puzzle, becoming lost in a sea of similar looking bergs. On July 5, 2018, the Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8 acquired this natural-color image of the area.

Large icebergs, in terms of width and length, are common in Baffin Bay. And most of them usually move along a path that keeps them out of the harbor. But it is the height and position of the berg that poses potential trouble for Innaarsuit.

“Bergs pose a threat when they sluff off chunks of ice,” Brunt said. “The waves that are created from this process could be quite large and could inundate the inhabited coast.”

“If the iceberg’s z dimension (height) is large relative to the x and y dimension, the ice could roll,” Brunt added. “The sides of tall icebergs like this often have a series of complex water lines, suggesting that they have experienced a complex history of shifting and rolling slightly as they change shape. A big roll could be pretty scary, and could create a substantial wave.”

Source: NASA press release

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