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World's Biggest Iceberg Begins Moving after Blocking Food Supplies for Antarctic Stations, Penguins

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  • mtneuman@juno.com
    World s Biggest Iceberg Begins Moving after Blocking Food Supplies for Antarctic Stations, Penguins The world s biggest iceberg has begun moving again, nearly
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 6, 2005
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      World's Biggest Iceberg Begins Moving after Blocking Food Supplies for
      Antarctic Stations, Penguins

      The world's biggest iceberg has begun moving again, nearly three months
      after it ran aground, threatening penguin breeding colonies and blocking
      ships supplying food and fuel to Antarctic research stations.

      The giant iceberg, known as B15A, is now moving slowly out of McMurdo
      Sound, where it had blocked sea access, said Lou Sanson, chief executive
      of the government scientific agency Antarctica New Zealand.

      The U.S. McMurdo Station and New Zealand's Scott Base are located on the
      sound, and Italy's Terra Nova base is nearby. The McMurdo station has a
      staff of about 1,000 during the summer and about 100 remain for the harsh
      polar winter. Scott Base has about 100 staff during the summer and only
      about 12 in the winter.

      The 160-kilometer (100-mile) -long iceberg, which contains enough water
      to supply the River Nile for 80 years, had blocked wind and water
      currents in the sound, causing a buildup of ice which impeded ships
      needed to supply food and fuel to the three research stations.

      The ice blockage also threatened penguin breeding colonies, with tens of
      thousands of Adele penguin chicks facing starvation as parent birds were
      forced to trudge up to 180 kilometers (110 miles) to open sea to gather
      food. Scientists are still trying to confirm how many of the chicks
      starved over the summer.

      Before B15A come to a halt in January, scientists had feared it would
      slam into a 70-kilometer (40-mile) -long glacier near the McMurdo
      station. Sanson said the iceberg is now nearing the glacier, known as the
      Drygalski Ice Tongue, at a speed of about one kilometer (5/8 mile) a day,
      but a direct hit seemed unlikely.

      Source: Associated Press, 4 April 2005
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