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Thwaites Glacier ( ) is a broad glacier flowing into the Amundsen Sea about 50km (30 miles) east of Mount Murphymarker, Walgreen Coast, Marie Byrd Land. Though imperfectly delineated, the glacier has tremendous flow and in January 1966 had formed a large floating glacier tongue 64 km (40 miles) long and an extensive grounded iceberg tongue that is 112 km (70 miles) long. Together, these features extend more than 160 km (100 miles) into the Amundsen Sea and inhibit east-west navigation by ships. Thwaites Glacier was mapped by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) from surveys and U.S. Navy air photos, 1959-66, and named by the Advisory Committee on Antarctic Names (US-ACAN) in association with Thwaites Glacier Tongue.

Some scientists have proposed that the Amundsen Sea Embayment, which this glacier and the Pine Island Glaciermarker are part of, may be the "weak underbelly" of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. The Pine Island and Thwaites Glaciers are two of Antarctica's largest five. Scientists have found that the flow of these glaciers have accelerated in recent years, and suggested that if they were to melt, global sea levels would rise by 0.9-1.9 m (1-2 yards), destabilizing the entire West Antarctic ice sheet and perhaps sections of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet.

Thwaites Glacier Tongue

Large B-22 iceberg breaking off from the Thwaites Glacier Tongue


The Thwaites Glacier Tongue or Thwaites Ice Tongue ( ) is about 32 km (20 miles) wide and 64 km (40 miles) long, and enters the sea about 48 km (30 miles) east of Mount Murphymarker. It was delineated from aerial photographs taken by USN Operation Highjump in January 1947, and named by Advisory Committee on Antarctic Names (US-ACAN) for Fredrik T. Thwaites, glacial geologist, geomorphologist and professor emeritus at the University of Wisconsin–Madisonmarker.

On 15 March 2002, the National Ice Center reported that an iceberg named B-22 broke off from the ice tongue. The berg measured about 85 by 65 km (46 by 35 nautical miles), with a total area of some 5,490 km² (2,120 square statute miles). , B-22 had broken into five pieces, with B-22A still in the vicinity of the tongue, while the other pieces were much smaller and had drifted considerably west.

Thwaites Iceberg Tongue

The Thwaites Iceberg Tongue ( ) was a very large and rather compact iceberg tongue which was aground in the Amundsen Sea, about 32 km (20 miles) northeast of Bear Peninsula. The feature was about 112 km (70 miles) long and 32 km (20 miles) wide and in January 1966 its south end was only 5km (3 miles) north of Thwaites Glacier Tongue, whence it had broken off. It was delineated by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) from aerial photographs taken by USN Operation Highjump, 1946-47, and USN Operation Deepfreeze, 1959-66.

This feature was made up of icebergs which had broken off from the ice tongue and ran aground. Therefore it should not be confused with Thwaites Ice Tongue, a commonly used and scientifically correct term for Thwaites Glacier Tongue, which is still attached to the glacier.

The iceberg tongue was first noted in the 1930s but was around before this and lasted for at least 75 years, finally floating off and breaking up in the late 1980s.

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