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Japan tsunami broke huge icebergs off Antarctica

August 9, 2011

thewatchers

The massive March 11 Japan earthquake and its ensuing tsunami were so powerful that they broke off huge icebergs thousands of miles away in Antarctica, according to a new study.

The calving of icebergs (where a huge chunk of ice breaks off from a glacier or ice shelf) from the Sulzberger Ice Shelf in Antarctica was linked to the tsunami, which originated with the magnitude 9.0 earthquake off the coast of the Japanese island of Honshu, by satellite observations of the Antarctic coast immediately after the earthquake.

Icebergs have been reported to calve following earthquakes before, including after the magnitude 6.3 earthquake that struck Christchurch, New Zealand, on Feb 22. But the new finding marks the first direct observation of such a connection between tsunamis and iceberg calving.

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