Mysterious 'perfectly rectangular' iceberg breaks off Antarctica

24 October, 2018, 16:25 | Author: Kelly Sanders
  • The B-15 iceberg is the world's largest free-floating object ever recorded

NASA scientists have discovered an unusual rectangular iceberg floating off the Larsen C ice shelf in Antarctica.

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".

Petty compares the process to a fingernail that grows and grows, "then it gets very weak because really that ice is being kind of extended out into the ocean", leaving less support for the floating ice.

The ice shelf is about 1,100ft thick and floats on the edge of West Antarctica.

Shuman said: "Those forces plus the natural fracture mechanics of ice as it ran into the rocky ice-covered island are how the many fragments of the main berg were formed at that time".


"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.

The rectangular iceberg appeared to be freshly calved from Larsen C, which in July 2017 released the massive A68 iceberg, a chunk of ice about 5,000 square kilometres. Strong winds blowing from Larsen C have finally given it the push it was waiting for.

NASA also shared a picture of a perfectly triangular block of ice found nearby and taken on the same trip, Operation Icebridge.

A huge crack has been spreading across the Antarctic Lasen C ice shelf for many years, but it began accelerating late last year.

Operation IceBridge is NASA's longest-running aerial survey of polar ice. That iceberg measured about 2,300 square miles, as NPR's Geoff Brumfiel reported. In the past, these flights have mapped Greenland's ice sheets, identified collapsing ice shelves, and spotted mysterious holes in the Antarctic ice.

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