New Zealand air force discovers ice bergs floating 300 km off coastline

Published: Friday 15 December 2006

Iceberg off the Otago coast<sc In the first week of November, New Zealand's air force spotted scores of huge icebergs floating within about 300 km of the country's coastline. By the third week of November "they were drifting along the coast of the country's South Island", said Mike Williams, an oceanographer at the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (niwa), New Zealand. The last time an iceberg was visible from New Zealand shore was June 1931. The floating blocks have become a major tourist attraction. "T he icebergs are now in the dominant Southland Current and are drifting eastwards," Williams said. Recent media reports show more icebergs are coming. "The largest is possibly up to one km in length. They are heading north along the east coast of New Zealand and might take more than two weeks before melting into the sea," Williams said. A sample of the iceberg has been sent to Victoria University for analysis. Though niwa is yet to receive the report, a study carried out by the chemistry department of the Univerisity of Otago, shows that the icebergs have come from the Weddell Sea.

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