National Geographic : 1968 Jun
then that the long southern voyage began. Glaciers on the west coast of Greenland calve about 7,500 sizable icebergs each year. An average of 380 get down to the waters off Newfoundland, at the 48th parallel, and of those, 35 to 40 float on past the Tail of the Banks, to the 42d parallel area where the Titanic went down. The numbers vary from year to year, and oceanographers still cannot predict long-range trends. In the peak year, 1929, for example, the Ice Patrol sighted 1,351 bergs below the 48th parallel; in 1966, none. Atlantic shipping seasonally shifts southward to avoid the danger areas, and unusually large numbers of bergs may cause further alteration of the great-circle routes. "An iceberg drifting southward may move five miles one day and forty the next," En- sign Robert Clasby, the chief ice observer aboard the plane, said as we watched the sea. It may get sidetracked in a Labrador cove for a week or bang around the fringes of an Arctic island for a month. By the time it reach es its deathbed of warmth in the Gulf Stream, it may have drifted for as long as three years. Berg Rivals Washington Monument A Coast Guard officer told me that the highest iceberg ever reliably recorded loomed 550 feet above water. "Can you picture in your mind how high that is?" he asked. I recalled the height of the Washington Monu ment-555 feet. And seven-eighths of the berg's mass was below the surface! By the time we arrived at Funk Island, our turnaround point, I had counted 63 icebergs Dimensions of danger: Lt. Comdr. Kennard M. Palfrey, Jr., a Coast Guard oceanographer, uses a range finder to gauge a berg's size and shape. nLl, n. UI;uu - nnum t3 t JAMESR. HOLLAND(C) N.G .S . Matching water against a Forel Scale, a seaman checks color characteristics, an indication of the amount of minute ma rine life. Evergreen conducts such ocean ographic experiments in addition to its iceberg research.