What's Going On With That Bizarre Rectangular Iceberg?

24 October, 2018, 16:27 | Author: Dwayne Harmon
  • Stock image  Pixabay

And when they do break, it's usually geometrical in shape.

Flying 1,500 feet above the Antarctic coast, NASA scientists recently passed over a bizarrely straight-edged rectangular iceberg and snapped a picture of the floating slab.

NASA's Operation IceBridge captured this image in one of its airborne surveys of the earth's polar ice caps.

It's described as a "tabular iceberg" - with steep sides and a flat top, typically formed by "snapping off" from an ice shelf, experts say.

The US space agency's explanation that the odd-looking iceberg's sharp angles and flat surface was an indication that it had recently broken off from a larger iceberg didn't seem to cut it online.

They're usually formed when breaking off from ice shelves; in this case, it likely came from the deteriorating Larsen C-the same shelf that saw a 2,200 square-mile, trillion-ton iceberg break away past year.

The odd mass, known as an angular iceberg, was spotted during a flyover of the east coast of the Antarctic Peninsula.

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It's ideal edges are formed by breaking off ice shelfs with clear precision but are rarely kept in that state for very long.

"We get two types of icebergs: We get the type that everyone can envision in their head that sank the Titanic, and they look like prisms or triangles at the surface and you know they have a insane subsurface", Brunt said.

A huge crack has been spreading across the Antarctic Lasen C ice shelf for many years, but it began accelerating late last year. Once they split from an ice shelf, they are often geometric in shape.

The angular berg is called a tabular iceberg.

"[Icebergs] look like these lovely pristine white things from a distance, but if you look a little closer, they're really mangled and full of cracks", she says. Brunt added that only about 10 percent of the iceberg's mass is visible, the rest being underwater.

It's hard to tell exactly how big the iceberg is from the photo, but experts said it was probably more than 1.6km (1 mile) across.


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