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See a Boston-sized iceberg break off Antarctica and go for a spin

Another iceberg nopes out of Antarctica.

This is what B47 looked like on Sept. 14 after its initial breakaway.
Contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data (2019), processed by ESA

Antarctica just had another escapee. Iceberg B-47 broke off the Getz Ice Shelf in September and made a run for it. A European Space Agency satellite witnessed the getaway and the ice chunk's ballet-like movements afterward. 

ESA released a GIF on Thursday created from Copernicus Sentinel-1 satellite images between Sept. 2 and Oct. 14. The animation shows the iceberg calving and then executing a graceful spin once free in the waters of the Amundsen Sea.

Iceberg B47 breaks away and spins around in this GIF of satellite images.

Contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data (2019), processed by ESA

Iceberg B-47 is about 100 square miles (260 square kilometers) in size, which makes it bigger than the city of Boston (90 square miles of land and water). 

The Getz Ice Shelf has been the subject of scientific scrutiny from NASA's Operation IceBridge. That multiyear mission involves research flights over West Antarctica to monitor changes in the ice. 

"Getz is an ice shelf that has been experiencing some of the highest basal melt rates of the Antarctic ice shelves," said IceBridge project scientist Nathan Kurtz in 2016. Basal melt refers to the ice shelf melting from underneath.

Not every breakaway iceberg is cause for alarm. A massive iceberg the size of London broke off the Amery Ice Shelf in East Antarctica in late September. Scientists said it was part of the ice shelf's natural cycle and wasn't linked to climate change.

Iceberg B-47 is one in a line of bergs calved from Getz. It should join a dance troupe because it has a killer pirouette.

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