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B15 - The Largest Recorded Iceberg!

B15 - The Largest Recorded Iceberg!
Photo Information
Copyright: James Parker (Jamesp) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1369 W: 9 N: 6334] (18906)
Genre: Landscapes
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2001-01
Categories: Seascape
Camera: Canon EOS 1vHS, Canon 24-70 mm f 2,8 L-USM, Fuji Provia 100
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): Earth from Above [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2007-04-21 9:27
Viewed: 11342
Points: 49
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
This shot was taken from a helicopter and as you can see the weather was pretty foul. It is a scanned slide. It does not really have that much photographic merit – I just thought it might be of interest.

As part of my first trip to Antarctica we after visiting McMurdo (US) and Scott (NZ) bases we visited bothe Scott’s and Shakelton’s huts and then the amazing Dry Valleys before sailing along the Ross Ice Shelf, plotting the new ice edge after the calving of B15 to a point further south than any ship had sailed. We then located B15 and as you can see, landed on it. The larger of the two black blobs is a pile of tents etc in case the weather closed in – the smaller is people.

The Ross Ice Shelf ( 81°30′S, 175°00′W) is the largest ice shelf of Antarctica (an area of roughly 487 000 km2, and about 800 km across: about the size of Spain). It is several hundred meters thick. The nearly vertical ice front to the open sea is more than 600 km long, and between 15 and 50 meters high above the water surface. 90 percent of the floating ice, however, is below the water surface.

Most of Ross Ice Shelf is located within the Ross Dependency claimed by New Zealand.

The ice shelf was named after Captain James Clark Ross who discovered it on January 28, 1841. It was originally named the Ice Barrier as it prevented sailing further south. Ross mapped the ice front eastward to 160°W.

The Ross Ice Shelf acquired a grimmer reputation in 1912, when it became the final resting place of Antarctic explorer Robert Falcon Scott and his party.

Iceberg B-15 was the world's largest recorded iceberg, with an area of over 11,000 km² it was larger than the island of Jamaica. It calved from the Ross Ice Shelf in March 2000, breaking up into several pieces in 2002 and 2003. The largest of these, B-15A, was the world's largest free-floating object—it was 122 km (76 miles) long, 27 km (17 miles) wide, and covered an area of 3,100 km² (1,200 mile², or approximately the size of Luxembourg). In November 2003, after the separation from B-15J iceberg, B-15A drifted away from Ross Island on the open waters of the Ross Sea. In December 2003 a small knife-shaped iceberg, B-15K (about 300 km²), detached itself from the main body of B-15A and started drifting northward. In 2005 prevailing currents took B-15A slowly past the Drygalski ice tongue; the collision broke off the tip of Drygalski in mid-April. Then the iceberg sailed on along the coast leaving McMurdo Sound until it ran aground off Cape Adare in Victoria Land and broke into several smaller pieces on 27–28 October 2005. The largest piece is still named B-15A (its surface is now approx. 1,700 km²), while three additional pieces were named B-15P, B-15M and B-15N. It has since moved farther up north and broken up into more pieces. These were spotted by air force fisheries patrol on November 3rd 2006. On November 21st several large pieces were seen just 60 km off the coast of Timaru, New Zealand. The largest measuring about 1.8 km (~1 mile) wide and 37 m (120 ft.) high.

iris, delic, fartash, horia, SelenE, ramthakur, Dan, Debz, deblink, Adanac, MommaMiaX3, jaycee, Nephrotome2, vizion, avallaunius, pilonm, sranjan has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
very cold placeswinterpalace 1 12-10 01:02
To Evelynn: ThawJamesp 1 04-21 17:17
To delic: SpotsJamesp 1 04-21 10:20
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • iris Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 479 W: 60 N: 970] (3088)
  • [2007-04-21 9:32]

Hi James..

Brrrr....the pic is enough to give a nice cold shiver and it's quite welcome to me who's trying to handle the summer heat.

Nice shot and the depth and the textures on the sides are very well presented.Really Good Effort.
TFS & Cheers

Hello James
Wonderful shot of Ross Ice Shelf ,
Excellent compo and lighting,
Great POV, Superb shot.

Good Luck

  • Great 
  • horia Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2158 W: 224 N: 4749] (16656)
  • [2007-04-21 9:49]

Hi James

This is indeed something else!!!
What a splendid view from the chopper here and what an "infinite" perspective! I love it!
This is definitely something we don't see everyday and the note sure made an interesting read.
I really like the apparently smooth surface of this imense mass of ice as well as the vertical wall...they both are impressive!
Great work!

Bravo and TFS

  • Great 
  • SelenE Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2249 W: 65 N: 4205] (13972)
  • [2007-04-21 9:52]

Hi James,
The perspective and the dimensions here are very interesting. Colors and the view is very good. Great capture. TFS
Have a nice weekend

  • Great 
  • delic Gold Star Critiquer [C: 440 W: 6 N: 310] (898)
  • [2007-04-21 10:07]
  • [+]

Hi James,
That thing looks endless. What are those spots on the iceberg? The photo has plenty merit: the converging lines, shades of glacial blue makes it very appealing.
Best wishes,

  • Great 
  • trinko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 587 W: 78 N: 322] (4321)
  • [2007-04-21 10:30]

amazing shot of a very rare phenomona. good colors and focus

Hi James,
It is a humbling experience to set eyes on this kind of view from Antarctica, my friend. Thanks for sharing this image and telling us all about it in your extensive note.
The image is superb irrespective of it being a slide scan.
The sense of scale, magnitude and isolation of this mammoth Ice Shelf comes out strongly in your well managed capture.
Best regards,

Wow, thanks for sharing this. I've heard of the ice shelf and the breaking off but now I have a much better sense of the size. I had no idea that it was so uniform in size and surface. I fear this is just "the tip of the iceberg", so to speak, in the great global warming antarctic thaw??????

Evelynn : )

Hello James,
Even without any reliable scaling it is easy to see this is a h-u-g-e piece of ice!
Beautiful colours, and the texture is amazing...
Great lines in the composition, an excellent image very much to my liking!
Pablo -

  • Great 
  • Dan Gold Star Critiquer [C: 113 W: 0 N: 2] (18)
  • [2007-04-21 15:29]

Hi James,

I'm imprest, what vastness, haw can be a thing so cold, so beautiful?
TFS, Dan

Beautiful shot!
Very nice place and fantastic atmosphere!
Bye Tom

  • Great 
  • Debz Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 505 W: 0 N: 847] (3307)
  • [2007-04-21 18:30]

It's a great shot James, the light is amazing. I have a friend who went earlier this year and she has some fab shots, I love the way you have captured the blue hues, nice clean and sharp.

Hi James, you are right it is interesting, to think that this Ice Shelf is the size of Spain. Your image of a small section of it is also interesting. I love the different layers of colours that are present. Nice composition.

  • Great 
  • Adanac Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1273 W: 1 N: 6188] (21378)
  • [2007-04-21 21:03]

Hello James,
Thanks for this exceptional post, both the fantastic image and the great note. This is truly amazing, thanks again for the education you have given me today.

Hello James, :)

WOW! Um if you ever want to take a whole family with you on one of your treks let me know! :D Okay just kidding you. HA

This is an Awesome sight! Love the POV and size comparison with the tents and people! Great colours and love the parallel lines in this particular photo. I would love to camp on an iceberg! Take care dear, and thanks for sharing!

*making a note here, I misidentified my heron today! Go figure :| It's a Green Heron, not Blue! Sorry. I appreciate you taking the time to look at him. I'll do better.*


  • Great 
  • arfer Gold Star Critiquer [C: 2731 W: 0 N: 0] (0)
  • [2007-04-21 22:41]

Hello James

Hey don't sell the merits of this photo short.It has a wonderful composition,with the serpentine line of the ice ,and the lovely skylines.The colours are cool and create a neat atmosphere.I think the tents and people really give an amazing sense of perspective.Well done.TFS


Hello James,
This is so interesting. This is a priceless opportunity that you could have seen this majestic Iceberg. This POV is perfect with excellent exposure and DOF with superb tones of colors. This must be quite an unforgettable experience to see this land of ice... If you would go back today, this panorama would have been very different I guess. This is a document that carries a great history. I wish that I could visit this part of the world someday as it is so fascinating. Thanks,

  • Great 
  • jaycee Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2454 W: 10 N: 8044] (25460)
  • [2007-04-22 11:12]

Hi James,

Wow! This is some scene. Absolutely amazing. The lighting is wonderful - you have captured so many shades of blue and white. Doesn't look like it is from a scanned slide.


You mentioned that the pic has no photographic merit. I would not be that harsh. I experimented several times being in front of something beautiful but couldn't find the right POV. I believe that in some case you have to be there to enjoy the scenery. It can't be shown on a pic.
Pic and notes together are indeed vey interesting and definately a good contribution to TN.
I might have slightly rotated the pic CCW, in order to get the horizon line horizontal.

Hi James,
Awesome perspective on this iceberg, it reminds me of the movie 'The Day After Tomorrow' with Dennis Quaid. You could make a lot of mixed drinks and not worry about running out of ice, man that would be one heck of a party. :)

Hi James,
I can see you have been to many places and even to Antarctica. A place I always have dreamed of to see. But for now I'm pleased to see through your camera.
An amazing ice shelf, just stunning to imagine the size of it. Thanks for sharing and many thanks for your note.


Useful info and privilege to see, though the horizon is skew and foreground needs more size (closer) in my opinion. The rest: awe-inspiring atmosphere

  • Great 
  • pilonm Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 588 W: 90 N: 975] (3321)
  • [2007-06-28 12:40]

Hello James,

Astonishing picture of this iceberg! You did a remarkable composition and managed excellently the exposition (not easy with snow!) Hoping that he will not melt too fast......

Ciao and TFS


amazing! TFS Ori

Hi James

It is difficult to visualise the size of this iceberg. Flying over it must help.Your notes together with the image leaving the viewer in awe.



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