Giant Greenland ice slab heads for Canada

A slab of ice the size of Bermuda, which broke off a Greenland glacier in August last year, is making headway towards Canada.

The 62.5 square-kilometre island, known as PII-A, is currently off the coast of Labrador and is expected to reach Newfoundland in about three weeks if it continues at its current speed of 0.6 kilometres an hour.

The ice sheet, which weighs between 3.5 billion and four billion tonnes, does not pose any imminent threat, but scientists are busy pondering its potential. To act as a comparison, it was suggested that a smaller iceberg which separated from Antarctica recently could provide as much as two litres of water per day for every person on earth for the next two years.

“We have that resource up there, and if we could ever do anything with it, that would be amazing,” said Charles Randell, the president of St John’s-based research centre C-Core. “Very, very pure. 110,000-year-old water; not many contaminants in that,” he added in Montreal Gazette report.

PII-A, which originally separated itself as a 251 square-kilometre block from Greenland’s Petermann Glacier last summer, has been gradually breaking up into smaller pieces due to the warmer weather. The Canadian Ice Service, which provides daily iceberg bulletins, said there are currently around 150 slabs off the coast of Labrador, and around 20 close to Newfoundland, where many tourists take up iceberg watching tours at this time of year.

(Photos: Anders Peter Amsnæs)

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