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In March 2000, a colossal iceberg calved off Antarctica’s Ross Ice Shelf. The iceberg, named B-15, subsequently broke into smaller pieces, some of which lingered around Antarctica’s shores for more than a decade. In 2011, one of those pieces, B-15J, drifted north into warmer waters and began to break apart.
The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this natural-color image of B-15J fragments on December 19, 2011. It shows parts of the iceberg, roughly 2,720 kilometers (1,690 miles) east-southeast of New Zealand. Large pieces of B-15J appear in the north, but smaller ice chunks are scattered throughout this scene. The white shapes in the northeast, however, are clouds.
NASA Earth Observatory image created by Jesse Allen, using data provided courtesy of the LANCE/EOSDIS Rapid Response team. Caption by Michon Scott with information from Ted Scambos, National Snow and Ice Data Center.
Fragments of Iceberg B-15J spread across the ocean east-southeast of New Zealand in late December 2011.