Friday, August 10, 2012

Bizarre rock 'ice shelf' found in Pacific

A HUGE cluster of floating volcanic rocks covering almost 26,000 square kilometres has been found drifting in the Pacific, the New Zealand navy said today.

The strange phenomenon, which witnesses said resembled a polar ice shelf, was made up of lightweight pumice expelled from an underwater volcano, the navy said.

An air force plane spotted the rocks yesterday about 1000km offshore from New Zealand and warned a navy warship that it was heading towards them.

Lieutenant Tim Oscar said that while he knew his ship the HMNZS Canterbury was in no danger from the pumice, which is solidified lava filled with air bubbles, it was still "the weirdest thing I've seen in 18 years at sea".

"As far ahead as I could observe was a raft of pumice moving up and down with the swell," he said.

"The rock looked to be sitting two foot (half a metre) above the surface of the waves and lit up a brilliant white colour in the spotlight. It looked exactly like the edge of an ice shelf." Read More