Published: Wed, October 24, 2018
Sci-tech | By Patricia Wade

This iceberg looks like a ideal rectangle

This iceberg looks like a ideal rectangle

We all have an idea of what an iceberg looks like, and usually we imagine a chunky mountainous formation or an irregular slab with a seal lounging on top.

A giant and unusually shaped rectangular iceberg has been spotted by NASA scientists floating in the Antarctic.

Operation IceBridge's mission is to image the planet's polar regions to better understand how ice has changed and shifted in recent years.

In 2008 the British Antarctic Survey flew over a whole collection of these freakishly ideal tabular icebergs, which had broken off of the Wilkins Ice Shelf on the Antarctic Peninsula.

"The iceberg's sharp angles and flat surface indicate that it probably recently calved from the ice shelf", NASA ICE said Wednesday on Twitter.

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. The iceberg represents one trillion tons of ice.

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"After a while, a tape measure will bend from its own weight", Catherine Walker, a NASA scientist who researches Antarctic glaciers, said in an interview.

Speaking with Live Science, NASA ice scientist Kelly Brunt said the shapes of the icebergs are formed by a fairly common process. They're often rectangular and geometric as a result, she added.

"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", Brunt said.

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

The tabular iceberg appears to be floating, but it's unknown how much of it lies below. The berg is estimated to be more than one mile across and, like all icebergs, just 10 percent of its mass is visible above the surface.

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