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Science & Technology

Perfectly square iceberg baffles the Internet

By T.K. Randall
October 21, 2018 · Comment icon 44 comments



This unusual feature is what is known as a 'tabular' iceberg. Image Credit: NASA / Twitter
This strangely geometric piece of ice was photographed by NASA off Antarctica's Larsen C ice shelf.
The photograph, which was posted up on Twitter this week, was taken as part of Operation IceBridge - an ongoing airborne NASA mission that aims to monitor changes in the polar ice caps.

Social media users were quick to pick up on the iceberg's impossibly perfect edges and smooth, featureless surface - a stark contrast to the chaotic shapes and sizes of other icebergs.

According to ice scientist Kelly Brunt however, it likely formed through a relatively common process.

"We get two types of icebergs," she told Live Science. "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 crazy subsurface. And then you have what are called 'tabular icebergs.'"
The latter can be very flat and geometric and typically split from the edges of ice sheets through a process that is not dissimilar to a fingernail growing too long and breaking off at the end.

Despite appearances, the iceberg in the photograph is actually several miles across and most of it is submerged under the water. The part you can't see is likely to be shaped much like a regular iceberg.

Also, despite its flat surface, the iceberg is probably quite fragile and would break if you walked on it.

A photograph of a second tabular iceberg in the same area can be viewed - here.



Source: Live Science | Comments (44)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #35 Posted by freetoroam 4 years ago
It is not a fake, it is a rare but not unknown of tabular berg. See above post. 
Comment icon #36 Posted by paperdyer 4 years ago
Then don't use any thermite!
Comment icon #37 Posted by Saru 4 years ago
Turns out there's more than one: https://www.standard.co.uk/news/world/nasa-spots-second-strikingly-rectangular-iceberg-in-antarctica-a3971131.html
Comment icon #38 Posted by devilmaycare 4 years ago
That's nothing. I was at Shoup park a long time ago with a friend and we were just hanging out. I looked up at the sky and there was a rectangular cloud about the same size as the iceberg above with no outline at all. Instead it was perfectly symmetrical round balls of cloud in a rectangular pattern. As I recall we both acted like that was normal lol.
Comment icon #39 Posted by Seti42 4 years ago
Turns out, this is how aliens make 'snowmen'.
Comment icon #40 Posted by Vox 4 years ago
It looks like an i(ce)Pad.
Comment icon #41 Posted by taniwha 4 years ago
Is it really perfectly square???  
Comment icon #42 Posted by ChrLzs 4 years ago
Nope.  If you check out the videos (see link in Saru's post, there's a longer one out there too), you'll see that they have chosen the angle carefully.  They are at best squar-ish at some of the corners, and only from some angles.  Crystalline water (aka ice) does have some linear characteristics, so, especially if it is of even thickness and large (ie big areas of floating ice where the sea has gradually frozen), it will tend to break in straight-ish lines.
Comment icon #43 Posted by Myles 4 years ago
While I totally believe this to be natural, I can understand if someone would  think that this was carved by man.
Comment icon #44 Posted by johncbdg 4 years ago
Not sure how many people had seen the video from 2008    


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