On Ice: From Vodka Nectar to Environmental Indicators, Titanic Icebergs Continue to Impact Our Lives

March 01, 2006 (PRLEAP.COM) Education News
Scientists received a crash course in the effects of iceberg collisions when their sensors detected strange shrieking sounds off the coast of Antarctica. "At first we had no explanation," says Christian Müller, a scientist with Fielax, a German company studying the phenomenon. They discovered it to be the swan song of grounded icebergs, creating tremors that were detected 800 kilometres away with strengths comparable to those measured at Mount St. Helens. But more importantly, iceberg tremors can help scientists understand seismic activity, allowing them to better predict volcanic eruptions and develop more sophisticated early warning systems.

Writer Ainslie MacLellan asks: What's the difference between a tugboat and an iceberg? When you're looking at a satellite radar picture taken from beyond the Earth's atmosphere, not much. But these simple-looking black and white radar pictures from the Canadian Space Agency's RADARSAT-1 satellite have revolutionized the way icebergs are tracked on the East Coast.

A Canadian company's innovative use of a Newfoundland resource is shaking up the international vodka market. “It is the only vodka in the world made from icebergs, a source of water so pure that contaminants are undetectable, even in parts per quadrillion,” states writer Katie Wallace. All-Canadian from East Coast bergie bits to Ontario sweet corn, this internationally-acclaimed iceberg vodka has become a hot commodity.

Does melting ice mean increased political strife over travel through the Northwest Passage? Canadian Geographic writer Jackie Wallace speaks with two political advocates who agree when it comes to Canadian sovereignty, “you either use it or you lose it.” What will Canada’s decision be? Also, have your say in “Testing the waters”: www.canadiangeographic.ca/surveys

"I think one of the most enjoyable parts of being on an icebreaker is all of the different wildlife that we get to see in the Arctic that the rest of the population only gets to read about," says acting commanding officer John Jenner. Join writer Holly Gordon as she talks with the Canadian Coast Guard about icebreaking, polar bears and protecting Canadian waters.

The life of Antarctica’s Adélie penguin is harsh – especially when massive icebergs block them from their traditional breeding grounds. Through DNA testing, scientists have recently discovered microevolution occurred in the South Pole resident bird due to the geographic isolation by massive icebergs, changing the genetic path of the Adélies.

Learn how bergs and canaries are connected, get an iceberg fact sheet, more stories, interactive media, games and a “how to” on lassoing bergs!