ⓘ Amery Ice Shelf


ⓘ Amery Ice Shelf

The Amery Ice Shelf is a broad ice shelf in Antarctica at the head of Prydz Bay between the Lars Christensen Coast and Ingrid Christensen Coast. It is part of Mac. Robertson Land. The name "Cape Amery" was applied to a coastal angle mapped on February 11, 1931, by the British Australian New Zealand Antarctic Research Expedition under Douglas Mawson. He named it for William Bankes Amery, a civil servant who represented the United Kingdom government in Australia. The Advisory Committee on Antarctic Names interpreted this feature to be a portion of an ice shelf and, in 1947, applied the name Amery to the whole shelf.

In 2001 two holes were drilled through the ice shelf by scientists from the Australian Antarctic Division and specially designed seabed sampling and photographic equipment was lowered to the underlying seabed. By studying the fossil composition of sediment samples recovered, scientists have inferred that a major retreat of the Amery Ice Shelf to at least 80 km landward of its present location may have occurred during the mid-Holocene climatic optimum about 5.700 years ago.

In December 2006, it was reported by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that Australian scientists were heading to the Amery Ice Shelf to investigate enormous cracks that had been forming for over a decade at a rate of three to five metres a day. Scientists wanted to discover what was causing the cracks, as there has not been similar activity since the 1960s. However, the head of research stated that it is too early to attribute the cause to global warming as there is the possibility of a natural 50-60 year cycle being responsible.

Lambert Glacier flows from Lambert Graben into the Amery Ice Shelf on the southwest side of Prydz Bay.

The Amery Basin 68°15′S 74°30′E is an undersea basin north of the Amery Ice Shelf.

The Chinese Antarctic Zhongshan Station and Russian Progress Station are located near this ice shelf.

The Amery Ice Shelf is the third largest ice shelf in Antarctica, after the Ross Ice Shelf and the Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf.


1. Calving

In September 2019, a large iceberg known as D-28 calved from the ice shelf. It was 1.636 square kilometres 632 sq mi in size twice the size of New York City and with an estimated weight of 315 billion tonnes. As of October 2019, it continues to be monitored due to the threat it could pose to shipping channels. An adjacent ice formation, nicknamed the "loose tooth", was originally predicted to calve from the ice sheet between 2010 and 2015.

As of February 2020, D-28 is currently lodged against the edge of the shelf, and slowly drifting northwards.