January 20, 2019

Square-shaped iceberg off Antarctica splits from ice shelf

24 October 2018, 05:52 | Ross Houston

Perfectly cubic pyrite crystals on marlstone. Image credits Carles Millan

Perfectly cubic pyrite crystals on marlstone. Image credits Carles Millan

We tend to think of icebergs as jagged and pointy, with the bulk beneath the surface, and with a penchant for ruining DiCaprio romances.

An enormous, perfectly rectangular iceberg has been discovered floating in the Antarctic by NASA scientists.

Operation IceBridge's mission is to image the planet's polar regions to better understand how ice has changed and shifted in recent years.

The iceberg NASA photographed is tabular, which means its basically table-shape: flat on the top and vertical at the edges.

The BBC explains that the iceberg probably separated recently from the Larsen C ice shelf, and such new breakaway bergs are sometimes "geometrically" shaped.

Last year, a giant iceberg the size of DE - named A-68 - broke off from Larsen C, fuelling concerns it could be on the brink of collapse.

Scientists from NASA came across one of the odd wonders of the natural world, a square-shaped iceberg from Antarctica.

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Scientists from Project MIDAS - a British Antarctic Survey project involving researchers from several British universities - said previous year that they feared the entire ice shelf could become unstable.

"You can see at between 7-12 July 2018 the weather conditions and ocean currents conspire to swing the trillion tonnes of the giant iceberg A68 in an anticlockwise direction", he said.

She compared the process to a fingernail growing too long and cracking off.

"They split from the edges of ice shelves - large blocks of ice, connected to land but floating in the water surrounding iced-over places like Antarctica".

The most familiar are those that look like prisms, such as the one that sank the Titanic.

"What makes this one a bit unusual is that it looks nearly like a square", she said.

And as with all icebergs only 10% of it is visible; the rest if buried below the surface of the water.

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