Tuesday, July 26, 2011
The Great Barrier
The Ross Ice Shelf is the largest ice shelf of Antarctica (an area of roughly 487 000 km2, and about 800 km across: about the size of France). It is several hundred metres thick. The nearly vertical ice front to the open sea is more than 600 km long, and between 15 and 50 metres high above the water surface. 90 percent of the floating ice, however, is below the water surface.
The ice shelf was named after Captain Sir James Clark Ross who discovered it on 28 January 1841. It was originally named the Victoria barrier by Ross, after Queen Victoria and later the Great Ice Barrier as it prevented sailing further south. Ross mapped the ice front eastward to 160°W.