Thursday, January 27, 2011

Mystery timber spotted on top of iceberg















Baffling: How did this block of wood end up on top of an iceberg? (Credit: Jodie Smith)

I've heard the Southern Ocean attracts a hardy individual but a block of wood on an iceberg is ridiculous.

This lonely piece of timber was spotted on the top of a small berg at 66 degrees south, just north of Commonwealth Bay.

Wildlife watchers near Aurora Australis' bridge first thought it was a relaxing seal but it was soon apparent it was rectangular in shape.

How it got to such a prominent position, instead of just floating around, is anyone's guess














A wider view of the baffling block. (Credit: Jodie Smith)

Since it is lifeless and non-magnetic, its baffling position won't be due to the fact that we are very close to the south magnetic pole.

Yes, we are near the wandering point in the earth's surface where the geomagnetic field lines are vertical, rather than lying across the planet from pole to pole.

Normal compasses don't work in this region. The one I have brought on board is now confused by all the iron in the ship.

The south magnetic pole was positioned on the Antarctic continent 100 years ago. It has since wandered out to sea due to changes in the Earth's magnetic field.

Do you have a theory on how the block of wood came to rest on the iceberg? Leave it in the comments.

http://blogs.abc.net.au/news/2011/01/a-chip-off-the-old-block.html


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