Mon, August 09, 2010
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'Ice island' breaks off glacier

2010-08-09 06:51:36 GMT2010-08-09 14:51:36 (Beijing Time)

An ice island four times the size of Manhattan-- and half as thick as the Empire State Building is tall-- has broken off from one of Greenland's two main glaciers.

Satellite images show the Petermann glacier located a thousand kilometres south of the North Pole lost roughly a quarter of its floating ice shelf.

The ice island contains enough fresh water to keep public tap water in the United States flowing for 120 days.

Scientists say it's hard to judge if global warming caused the event. Records on the glacier and sea water below have only been kept since 2003.

The flow of sea water beneath Greenland's glaciers is a main cause of ice detaching from them.

The first six months of 2010 have been the hottest globally on record. Scientists attribute this to the El Nino weather pattern and human-made greenhouse gases.

The new ice island has an area of 100 square miles and is more than 600 feet thick.

Thousands of icebergs detach from Greenland's glaciers every year. The last time one this large formed was in 1962.

This island could fuse with land, break into smaller pieces, or slowly move south where it might block ships.

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