Mysterious 'perfectly rectangular' iceberg breaks off Antarctica

Perfectly cubic pyrite crystals on marlstone. Image credits Carles Millan

Perfectly cubic pyrite crystals on marlstone. Image credits Carles Millan

Tabular icebergs, large slabs of ice with almost vertical sides and a flat top, unlike the jagged, chunks of ice we typically think of as icebergs, are formed when ice shelves become too large and sections of it calve, or split off.

Now, however, something weird has happened: NASA has taken a photo of what appears to be a perfectly flat, rectangular iceberg floating off the coast of the Antarctic.

Tabular icebergs are wide and flat and long - "like sheet cake" - Kelly Brunt, an ice scientist with NASA, told Live Science journal.

UMBC JCET Scientist at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Christopher Shuman, who has been watching the Larsen C Ice Shelf explained that the main iceberg (which was the size of about the size of the state of DE when it split from the shelf in July) has had a previous series of collisions, resulting in larger and smaller fragments.

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.

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Last month one of the largest icebergs ever recorded, a trillion-ton monster four times the size of London started moving and spinning as it breaks free of the ice.

Nasa had found a piece of floating ice in Antarctica that is so flawless, it looks like it was deliberately cut.

NASA also posted an image of another geometric iceberg, but in the shape of a triangle.

"What makes this one a bit unusual is that it looks nearly like a square", she told the LiveScience website.

The other kind of iceberg floating in the ocean are the irregularly shaped ones that most people could envision as the one that sank the Titanic.

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"In addition, IceBridge collects critical data used to predict the response of Earth's polar ice to climate change and resulting sea-level rise".

The angular berg is called a tabular iceberg.

As with all icebergs, the part visible above the surface is just the top 10 percent of its mass.

From yesterday's #IceBridge flight:Triangular iceberg surrounded by many different types of sea ice, off the Larsen ice shelf in the Weddell Sea.

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