A 13,680 square kilometre ice shelf has begun to collapse because of rapid climate change in a fast-warming region of Antarctica.

Satellite images of the Wilkins Ice Shelf breaking apart

Satellite images of the Wilkins Ice Shelf showed that a huge iceberg, 41 x 2.5 km, about seven times the size of Manhattan, has disintegrated from the ice shelf recently.

The Wilkins began its collapse on Feb 28 (2008); a narrow beam of intact ice, just 6 km wide, was protecting the remaining shelf from further breakup as of March 23.

[More stories on National Snow and Ice Data Center and British Antarctic Survey]


The picture shows a Zimbabwean carrying pile load of cash to buy something. Seems like a lot of money… but fact is the pile of cash is probably worth less than 100 US dollars.

Zimbabwe with inflation crisis
(Image via Xinhuanet)

Zimbabwe is suffering from an inflation crisis. The annual inflation in the African country has rocketed past the 100,000% barrier in Feb 2008, by far the highest in the world (2nd placed Iraq has an estimated inflation of 60%).

Zimbabwe’s currency has tumbled to a record low of 25 million Zimbabwe dollars to one US dollar. 100 US dollars could exchange for nearly 20kg of local currency.

Frankly, it’s hard to imagine how a country would manage to get themselves into the troubled situation. My countrymen would be crying like babies if our annual inflation rates reached 10%… 100,000% inflation? That’s unthinkable.

Summer, an 11-year-old horse, as seen during the 11th annual EquiFest of Kansas on Feb 29 (2008), holds the Guinness World of Records for the longest tail on a horse (3.81 metres)…

Summer the horse with longest tail
Summer the horse with longest tail Summer the horse with longest tail
Summer and her caretaker (Image via Eastday)

An eight-year-old boy has discovered a set of dinosaur footprints on a beach which date back an incredible 160 million years.

Rhys Nichols was strolling along the sands with dad Richard when he spotted the perfectly preserved nine-inch prints on a rock.

160-million-year-old Dinosaur footprint 8-year-old boy spots dinosaur footprint
Rhys and the dinosaur footprint he spotted (Image courtesy of Mailonsunday, hat tip to Spluch)

Experts have hailed the find, saying that dinosaur footprints ‘are not normally that clear’. It’s suggested that the footprints are from a plant-eating dinosaur from the Middle Jurassic period, which would make the prints about 160 million years old.

A fossilised “sea monster” unearthed on an Arctic island is the largest marine reptile known to science, Norwegian scientists have announced.

The 150 million-year-old specimen was found on Spitspergen, in the Arctic island chain of Svalbard, in 2006. The Jurassic-era leviathan is one of 40 sea reptiles from a fossil “treasure trove” uncovered on the island.

Nicknamed “The Monster”, the immense creature would have measured 15m (50ft) from nose to tail. [BBC]

Sea monster found on Spitspergen in the Arctic island chain of Svalbard Illustration of the sea monster of Arctic
The fossil and artist illustration of the sea monster ‘in action’

Scientists investigating the icy waters of Antarctica said on Feb 22 that they have discovered some mysterious creatures in the murky depths, including giant sea spiders and huge worms.

The scientists collected specimens from up to 6,500 feet (2,000 metres) beneath the surface of the Southern Ocean as part of an international project to take a census of Antarctic marine life. [Nationalgeographic]

Strange turnicates among weird sea creatures found in Antarctica
Tunicates which look like glass tubes (Image via Dailymail)

The tiny Pacific islands nation of Kiribati declared the world’s largest marine protected area on Feb 14, a California-sized ocean wilderness that includes pristine reefs and eight coral atolls teeming with fish and birds.

The Phoenix Islands Protected Area, or PIPA, lies about halfway between Hawaii and Fiji. [AP]

PIPA was the world’s third largest marine protected area before the Government of Kiribati announced the expansion of the boundaries of the protected area on Jan 28, 2008… which now encompass an area of 410,500 square kilometres. [Phoenixisland]

The largest gold coin in the world, weighing 100kg and with a face value of CA$1 million was recently on display in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

World largest gold coin produced by Royal Canadian Mint
World’s largest gold coin (Image courtesy of Xinhuanet)

The gold coin, produced by the Royal Canadian Mint in 2007, is approximately 50cm in diametre and about 3cm thick and has a purity of 99.999%.

Although the 100kg coin has a face value of $1 million, it would cost approximately CA$2.6 million (or US$2.4 million) to purchase, based on the market value of gold.

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