A Strange Deeply Angular Iceberg is Floating off the Antarctic Coast
The internet is now focused on a floating, deeply angular iceberg off the Antarctic coast.
This is not that rare for scientists in Antarctica who regularly spot these steep-walled “tabular” icebergs, many of which are almost perfectly square or rectangular. However, they certainly look like strange, unnatural forms in such a harsh and wild earthly environment.
When seen from space, this particular iceberg has a rich diversity of sharp-edged friends — and even though it initially seemed perfectly rectangular, it’s not.
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Stef Lhermitte, a geoscientist specializing in remote sensing at the Netherlands’ Delft University of Technology explained in an email to Mashable that if you look in detail you will even see that from the top is it not that perfectly rectangular as the photo seems to portray.
Lhermitte also explained that it’s not that exceptional for tabular icebergs (like the one in the NASA image) to have very sharp corners.
Scientists believe that the now-famous angular iceberg recently broke off from an ice shelf — which are the ends of glaciers that float over the ocean.
NASA’s Operation IceBridge missions (which survey Antarctica from 1,500 above) recently observed that this particular iceberg was surrounded by other tabular slabs, freshly cut off into the freezing sea.
Although it’s very normal for these kinds of icebergs to calve into the sea. Changes in Antarctica are moving at an accelerated pace.
In fact, many ice shelves, especially in West Antarctica, are losing ice faster than they can be replenished.
This is a major concern to climate scientists since collapsing ice shelves, which fall apart when enough warm water and air weaken the structures, have the real possibility of unleashing Antarctica’s great ice sheets into the sea, making sea levels rise in yards, not feet.
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Image Credit: Andrea Danti / Shutterstock