Friday Headlines: 11-22-13

Friday Headlines, November 22, 2013



Today’s round-up:

A new island off of Japan

Massive iceberg threatens shipping lanes off of Antarctica

A bit of Zen with ocean currents


Volcano raises new island far south of Japan

Japan is a tectonically active area, replete with numerous volcanoes and deadly earthquakes. This is because of the subduction of both the Pacific and the Philippine plates below the Eurasian Plate.

Tectonic setting for Japan. Credit: Volcano World

Where there is subduction, there are often volcanoes in the over-riding plate. The numerous volcanoes that outline the Pacific ocean are due to subduction around nearly the entire margin of the ocean.

The existence of the islands of Japan are due to the volcanoes associated with the subduction of the Pacific and Philippine plates under the Eurasian Plate. Credit: Volcano World

A new volcanic island has emerged from the sea along the fault that separates the Pacific Plate from the Philippine Plate, near and island called Nishinoshima.

The southern islands of Japan, including Nishino shima, off which is a new volcanic island.

The new island is about 200 meters in diameter, but is growing as the volcano continues to erupt.


Manhattan-Sized Iceberg a Threat to Shipping Lanes, Being Tracked

On July 8 of this year, a massive piece of the Pine Island Glacier of Antarctica broke off and started drifting out to sea.

Map showing the position of the Pine Island Glacier. Credit: Angelika Humbert, Alfred Wegener Institute

This piece of ice shelf is about the size of the island of Manhattan, measuring about 720 square kilometers.

Satellite image of the fracture separating the new iceberg (on the left) from the main body of the Pine Island Glacier. Credit: DLR (German Space Agency)

The massive iceberg is now drifting northward toward major shipping lanes in the southern hemisphere. Scientists from the Alfred Wegener Institute, the Helmholtz Certre for Polar and Marine Research are using images from TerraSAR-X, a satellite from the German Space Agency to track the path of this iceberg.

Because of its massive size, an iceberg like this could last for years depending upon where it floats. Thus it could continue to affect shipping for a long time. That it is fresh water will also affect salinity near where it melts, impacting ocean water chemistry as well.


Feel the zen of the ocean with this coastal current map

Go read the post, then click through to see surface current sin action.

Really. You must.

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