Massive iceberg mesmerises Macquarie Islanders

6 November 2009

Macquarie Island expeditioners were treated to a rare sight this week with a huge iceberg floating past the island.

The iceberg is about 8 kilometres off the north-west of the island and is estimated to be about 50 metres high and 500 metres long.

Australian Antarctic Division Glaciologist, Neal Young, said it's uncommon for icebergs to be so far north.

"The iceberg is likely to be part of one of the big ones that calved from the Ross Ice Shelf nearly a decade ago," Dr Young said.

"Throughout the year several icebergs have been drifting slowly northwards with the ocean current towards Macquarie Island," he said.

"We know there are also a few more icebergs 100-200 kilometres to the west of the island."

Iceberg near Macquarie Island
Iceberg near Macquarie Island
Photo: Murray Potter
Iceberg off Macquarie Island
Iceberg off Macquarie Island
Photo: Tessa Bickford

Fur seal biologist, Dr Dean Miller, was the first to spot the iceberg on the way to the colony at North Head.

"I've never seen anything like it; we looked out to the horizon and just saw this huge floating island of ice," Dr Miller said.

"It was a monumental moment for me as it was the first iceberg I have seen," he said.

It is likely the iceberg will break up and melt rapidly as it heads further north.

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This page was last modified on 6 November 2009.