Restless Antarctic giant on the move again

Friday 3 June, 2005

The massive Antarctic iceberg that captured worldwide attention after lodging offshore from Australia 's Casey station is moving on.

B15G turned up in Vincennes Bay at Casey on April 28th after a long, slow journey from the Ross Ice Shelf where it broke away, as part of a much larger iceberg, in March 2000.

The 50-plus-km-long iceberg, measuring 788 square kms in area and more that twice the size of Malta appears to be continuing its westward trip. On B15G's arrival at Casey glaciologists said that while it had run aground it was likely to move on although there was no telling when that might be.

Wintering personnel at Casey noticed recently that B15G had shifted, pirouetting from its north-south position to east-west, and believed it may be about to leave.

But it was difficult to tell, with visibility in the region over the past few days restricted due to low cloud and satellites unable to get clear pictures. However, overnight satellite images show the iceberg's movement away from Vincennes Bay .

Casey station leader Jeremy Smith said he and his 13 colleagues had become used to seeing B15G draped across their horizon and would miss it.

"We came to view the iceberg with some affection. Our frozen sea view, though still littered with small icebergs, seems empty now."

Dr Smith said that while B15G could become grounded again elsewhere in Vincennes Bay it would be beyond Casey's horizon and unless something unusual happened with currents and winds to bring the iceberg back it was unlikely shipping would be disrupted next summer.

Media contact: Patti Lucas (03) 6232 3514 or 0439 639 227