American Space Agency NASA has shared an image of a nearly perfect rectangular iceberg floating just off the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica. The almost perfect 90-degree angles of this slab of ice may puzzle many people, making them think that this geometrical shape was deliberately carved with a gigantic chainsaw. It is hard to believe that nature can create such a perfect rectangular iceberg in Antarctica.
— Live Science (@LiveScience) October 19, 2018
The image was captured as part of NASA’s Operation IceBridge mission to image Earth’s polar regions. The aim of this mission is to allow NASA scientists understand the changes in ice (thickness, location, accumulation, etc.) in recent years in Earth’s polar regions.
According to experts, this rectangular shaped iceberg is the result of a natural phenomenon. Such icebergs are known as tabular icebergs. They are wide, flat, and long and are characterized by steep, nearly vertical sides and a flat plateau top.
Such icebergs usually split from the edges of ice shelves, and can have angles close to 90 degrees, provided there is clean calve of the iceberg. As the iceberg gets old, its sharp edges are winnowed away by the wind, waves and sea spray.
“So, here’s the deal,” Kelly Brunt, a NASA scientist, told Live Science.
“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.'”
“What makes this one a bit unusual is that it looks almost like a square,” Brunt said.
According to Brunt, it is difficult to determine the size of the iceberg in the photo, but it’s likely more than a mile across. Moreover, the visible part is just the top 10 percent of its mass, and the rest is hidden underwater.