Tuesday, 13 November, 2018

Mysterious rectangular iceberg found by NASA

Perfectly cubic pyrite crystals on marlstone. Image credits Carles Millan Perfectly cubic pyrite crystals on marlstone. Image credits Carles Millan
Frank Williams | 24 October, 2018, 20:09

They are formed when they split from the edges of ice shelves, and are often rectangular in shape when they break off.

Snapped by NASA's ICE mission, as part of Operation IceBridge, the giant tabular iceberg borne of the Larsen C ice shelf looks as though it was neatly cut from the wider ice shelf using a giant band saw.

However, tabular icebergs are vast slabs of ice with a flat top and vertical sides that form by "calving" or splintering off a much larger ice shelf.

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.

In the statement from NASA, Harbeck said he had actually been more interested in capturing the massive A68 iceberg, the size of the USA state of DE, which split off from the Larson C ice shelf in 2017.

It studies yearly changes in thickness of sea ice, glaciers and ice sheets. As these tabular bergs float out to sea, any sharp corners are quickly ground down in collisions with other icebergs, or they melt over time.

US in 'fact-finding phase' on Khashoggi: Kushner
Saudi Arabia said Mohammed spoke Monday by telephone with Khashoggi's son to express condolences for the killing. Turkish media reported Sunday that Khashoggi's fiancée has been given 24-hour police protection .

It was during one of these regular surveillance flights that senior support scientist Jeremy Harbeck spotted an unusually angular iceberg floating just off the Larsen C ice shelf. "I've seen many icebergs around Antarctica that have very straight, very long sides", he said.

A NASA spokesman said: "It will yield an unprecedented three-dimensional view of Arctic and Antarctic ice sheets, ice shelves and sea ice". As it calved, the iceberg may have been smooth and flat underneath, but ocean currents would have quickly changed it.

The odd iceberg was spotted by a NASA scientist, who posted a picture to social media site, Twitter.

The odd mass, known as an angular iceberg, was spotted during a flyover of the east coast of the Antarctic Peninsula.

This iceberg looks pretty fresh, she said.

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