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Petermann Ice Island in Nares Strait
This page contains archived content and is no longer being updated. At the time of publication, it represented the best available science. However, more recent observations and studies may have rendered some content obsolete.
In mid-July 2012, a massive iceberg calved off the Petermann Glacier of northwestern Greenland. Named PII-2012, the ice island drifted slowly away from the glacier and into Nares Strait. Still intact on August 31, the iceberg had started to fragment by September 4.
The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite captured this natural-color image on September 13, 2012. It shows the main iceberg and two smaller fragments drifting through Nares Strait between Greenland and Ellesmere Island. The fragments apparently broke off the side of the iceberg that was originally positioned upstream on the glacier. This iceberg calved along a rift on the Petermann Glacier that had been visible in satellite imagery for several years.
A new chunk of Petermann Glacier broke off in July 2012, two years after another large ice island was launched. In the same week, the surface of the Greenland ice sheet experienced unusually widespread melting and some flooding along rivers.