A large iceberg exploded the night to September 17th in Baffins Bay, 90 km north of Upernavik. The spread of fragments had reached an area of 4-5 km in diameter within a few hours from the explosion, as can be seen in the satellite images. In the third image the fragments have spread up to 10 km to the north-northwest within 24 hours.
The process leading to large icebergs exploding has not been researched much, as it usually happens unexpected in very remote places. The explosion is believed to be the result of erosion of the iceberg due to weather and sea, but other things contribute to increasing the tension within the iceberg. It may have been stranded which means it lifts at high tide and then gets beaten back to the ocean floor on low tide. As the iceberg starts to melt it cracks get filled up with melt water. If that then freezes again it can result in the explosion of the iceberg.
The Center for Ocean and Ice of DMI (the Danish Meteorological Institute) has been focusing on the Baffin Bay area lately as it is supporting some seismic research in the area.
Source: Nora Adamsen, DMI
Images are from RADARSAT, from the Canadian Space Agency.