An unusual but almost perfect cut of a rectangular iceberg has been captured by NASA and scientists are baffled.
NASA scientists discovered this peculiar iceberg on Oct. 16 during the Operation IceBridge program. It is a mission in progress with an aim to keep an eye on polar regions and follow the Earth’s climate system.
This iceberg is no ordinary huge chunk of ice that recently separated from Antarctica’s Larsen C ice shelf. It has flat tops with perpendicular sides and at times gigantic sizes. Tabular icebergs can reach over hundreds of miles in diameter and extend hundreds of feet underneath the surface. They are the fragments of calving events also known as glacial calving. Ice separates due to the progressive motion of a glacier which makes the end weak.
This giant block of ice cut loose from the Larsen C ice shelf on the Antarctic Peninsula which is the same ice shelf that created the monstrous A-68 iceberg in July 2017. According to NASA, it looks like that the iceberg has been separated from the shelf not too long ago looking at its proportionately polished edges and natural condition. This iceberg has not been estimated yet, however, University of Maryland Earth scientist Kelly Brunt it’s roughly a mile across which is not specifically humongous.
Iceberg A-68 measured around 2,240 square miles during the time of calving. Brunt said that only nearly 10% of its size can be seen with the rest submerged underwater. It means that only the tip is visible. She added that tabular iceberg is like a long fingernail that snaps at the end.
Brunt noted, “So, here’s the deal. We get two types of icebergs: 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.'”
A chunk of ice is called an iceberg if it exceeds 5 meters or 16 feet across. Smaller ones are known as Bergy bits and growlers which are more difficult to spot making it risky for ships.
Icebergs have different colors and its hue indicates its origin and contents.
– White icebergs contain countless bubbles inside
– Blue icebergs are extremely compact
– Greenish-black icebergs could have separated from underneath the glacier shelf
– Dark-striped icebergs consist of moraine fragments from the glacier
Once an iceberg approached warm waters, the new climate takes its toll from all its sides. Warm air dissolves snow and ice into pools (melt ponds) on the iceberg’s surface which crawls down and stretches the cracks. Warm water ripples at the edges which melt the ice and cause the massive blocks of ice to split from the shelf. Underneath, warmer waters dissolve the iceberg from the bottom up.
Different scientist study icebergs
Various scientists study icebergs for several different reasons.
Climate scientists are looking for clues to the mechanism that induces ice shelf to disintegrate. This would help them better comprehend the factors that result in the breaking off of the ice shelf. At the same time, to better forecast how ice shelves will react to a warming climate. Studies also show that despite the icy surroundings, Antarctica is also home to several volcanoes.
Oceanographers, on the other hand, also track icebergs. This is because the freshwater that icebergs provide to the sea could manipulate currents and ocean movement a long way from where they came from.
Biologists need to find out how icebergs could influence a plethora of marine life. As they melt, nutrients from these gigantic chunks of ice disperse nutrients into the ocean around them. Recent research confirms the abundance of plankton, fishes, and other marine life surrounding icebergs.