What's Going On With That Bizarre Rectangular Iceberg?

Gwen Vasquez
October 24, 2018

NASA scientist Kelly Brunt told LiveScience, "What makes this one a bit unusual is that it looks nearly like a square".

The A68 iceberg is a chunk of ice about the size of the state of DE which was released by the Larsen C ice shelf previous year.

This iceberg looks pretty fresh, she said.

Quoting glaciologist Jan Lieser, who is with the Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre, the report stated that straight lines and sharp angles on ice sheets are a known phenomenon.

The flight originated from Punta Arenas, Chile, as part of a five-week-long IceBridge deployment, which began October 10 and is scheduled to conclude November 18.

However, tabular icebergs are huge slabs of ice with a flat top and vertical sides that form by "calving" or splintering off a much larger ice shelf. Because the recently photographed iceberg was still sharp around the edges, NASA scientists said it's likely that this berg was cleaved off not too long ago.

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She said there were two types of iceberg.

"My guess is that A68 will continue rotating as it is now around that western point, until what is currently the northern edge collides with the Larsen C ice front".

"[Icebergs] look like these attractive pristine white things from a distance, but if you look a little closer, they're really mangled and full of cracks", she says.

The study is the largest airborne survey of Earth's polar ice ever flown, taking 3-D images and keeping track of sea ice thickness.

NASA boffins have yet to measure this latest contender, but early estimates indicate it's unlikely to topple B-15 off the top spot for world's biggest iceberg, at a paltry (though still impressive, let's be honest) 1.6km wide. "Scientists can then calculate the distance between the aircraft or the satellite and the ice surface, which gives them the ice height".

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