Mother Nature with a chainsaw? Perfectly rectangular iceberg dazzles online

Katie Ramirez
October 23, 2018

Covering an estimated 5,800 sq km, the Larsen C ice shelf extends along the east coast of the Antarctic Peninsula from Cape Longing to Smith Peninsula. It was recorded at 2,780 square miles - larger than Maryland - until last July, when it calved an iceberg the size of DE, known as A-68.

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

While most of us think of icebergs as pointy chunks of ice with their spires sticking out of the water, these tabular icebergs are quite different.

But NASA ice scientist Kelly Brunt explained the process that caused it is fairly common.

NASA also shared a picture of a perfectly triangular block of ice found nearby and taken on the same trip, Operation Icebridge.

According to NASA Ice scientists, the sharp angles and flat surface of the iceberg discovered on the trip indicate that it was likely recently calved from the ice shelf.

It studies yearly changes in thickness of sea ice, glaciers and ice sheets.

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She said there were two types of iceberg.

Tabular icebergs are wide and flat due to the way they form: because they calve from floating ice shelves, there's no friction with the ocean floor to hinder breakage, The Washington Post reports.

As for the size of the iceberg NASA photographed, Brunt said it's possibly more than a mile across - but it hasn't been measured yet.

Brunt said the iceberg could be unstable and break if someone were to walk on it.

"What makes this one a bit unusual is that it looks nearly like a square", Brunt said, adding that it's probably not very old since wind and water have yet to soften its sharp edges.

'Sentinel-1 SAR satellite imagery from 29 August 2018 shows that to the north of the iceberg the wind is pushing the sea ice northwards faster than the iceberg is rotating.

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