Published: Tue, October 23, 2018
Sci-tech | By Patricia Wade

Near-perfect rectangular iceberg found in Antarctica

Near-perfect rectangular iceberg found in Antarctica

But how does the iceberg form its flawless shape?

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

Experts reckon the iceberg's "sharp angles and flat surface indicate that it probably recently calved from the ice shelf".

The study uses research aircraft to capture three-dimensional images and monitor annual changes in thickness of sea ice, glaciers and ice sheets, with the aim of better understanding connections between polar regions and the global climate system.

"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 insane subsurface", Kelly Brunt, an ice scientist with NASA, told Live Science.

She said there were two types of iceberg.

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.

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.

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Categorized as a tabular iceberg, the square-like iceberg was estimated to be over a mile across.

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

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

But it's now on the move, according to Professor Mark Brandon of the Open University - who says the iceberg "will not be stopped easily".

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

Scientists from the European Space Agency wrote in September, 'Sea ice to the east and shallow waters to the north kept this giant berg, named A68, hemmed in.

"Sea ice conditions have kept a lot of them near Bawden Ice Rise".

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