Tag Archives: Operation IceBridge

Rectangular icebergs in Antarctica

Operation IceBridge is National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) longest-running aerial survey of polar ice to assess changes in the ice height of glaciers.

On October 10, 2018, NASA began a 5-week-long IceBridge deployment. The flight originated from Punta Arenas, Chile, and is scheduled to conclude on Nov. 18.

As recounted on NASA.gov, on Oct. 16, 2018, the IceBridge aerial survey flew over the northern Antarctic Peninsula. IceBridge senior support scientist Jeremy Harbeck spotted two sharp-angled rectangular icebergs floating among sea ice just off of the Larsen C ice shelf.

Credits: NASA/Jeremy Harbeck

The rectangular icebergs appeared to be freshly carved from Larsen C, which in July 2017 released the massive A68 iceberg, a chunk of ice about the size of the state of Delaware.

Harbeck said:

“I thought it was pretty interesting; I often see icebergs with relatively straight edges, but I’ve not really seen one before with two corners at such right angles like this one had. I was actually more interested in capturing the A68 iceberg that we were about to fly over, but I thought this rectangular iceberg was visually interesting and fairly photogenic, so on a lark, I just took a couple photos.”

Here’s a closer-up image of the larger rectangular iceberg, showing the iceberg’s sharp angles and precision-cut edges.

How do natural icebergs get to be rectangular in shape, with sharp angles?

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~Eowyn

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