NASA captures incredible image of near-perfect rectangle iceberg off Antarctic Peninsula


WTF?! NASA has released an image showing an iceberg in Antarctica that appears so rectangular and flat, it looks purposely cut into shape.

"It's just fantastic", said Scambos of the Wilkins tabular icebergs. A flight for Operation IceBridge captured the photo.

Most icebergs live only three to six years, but if they stay in cold waters and don't collide with other icebergs (or land), they can survive for 50 or more years.

They shared a striking image of the giant block, known as a tabular berg, after it was captured off the east coast of the Antarctic Peninsula, near the Larsen C ice shelf, according to The Sun. At that point, tides or strong winds could break icebergs off.

She said: "We get two types of icebergs". Petty compares it to a glass plate that shatters - the lines are typically very straight.

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Kelly Brunt, an ice scientist with NASA and at the University of Maryland, explained, it was likely formed by a process that's fairly common along the edges of icebergs.

The unusual looking iceberg is called a tabular iceberg, and its photo was taken for NASA's Operation IceBridge, which documents "Earth's polar ice to better understand connections between polar regions and the global climate system".

"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. Such non-conventional icebergs can be massive, with the record-setting 11,000 square kilometer Iceberg B-15, visible from space, spotted off the Ross Ice Shelf in Antarctica in 2000. That iceberg measured about 2,300 square miles, as NPR's Geoff Brumfiel reported.

The survey is building a three-dimensional map of the ice at both poles. "Scientists can then calculate the distance between the aircraft or the satellite and the ice surface, which gives them the ice height".