NASA Figures Out Where The Perfect Rectangular Iceberg Was Born

Posted: Nov 9 2018, 6:00pm CST | by , Updated: Nov 9 2018, 6:06pm CST, in Latest Science News


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NASA Figures Out Where the Perfect Rectangular Iceberg was Born
Credit: NASA/Jeremy Harbeck

The sharp-angled iceberg had a longer, rougher journey than was initially thought.

On October 16, 2018, NASA's longest-running airborne mission Operation IceBridge captured the image of a perfectly rectangular iceberg while flying over northern Antarctic Peninsula. Its edges were extremely straight and clean-cut. The unique iceberg made headlines recently, with many people debated its origin.

Researchers spotted the tabular iceberg floating among sea ice just off of the Larsen C ice shelf. They assumed that it may have freshly calved from Larsen C, which released the massive A68 iceberg in July 2017. But it turned out that the odd-shaped chunk of ice actually has had a much longer and rough journey than was initially thought.

Using images from Landsat 8 and the European Space Agency’s Sentinel-1, researchers were able to trace the origins of this unique iceberg. They found that the berg was separated from Larsen C ice shelf’s new front in early November 2017, just a few months after A-68 broke away. The rectangle iceberg – which was originally about 4 kilometers long – began a northward journey and navigated the newly open water between the Larsen C ice shelf and Iceberg A-68. In a latest image, the iceberg can be seen floating alongside many small, newly calved icebergs. The rectangular iceberg could collide with other bergs during its long journey.

“The berg cruised all the way north and through a narrow passage between the A-68’s northern tip and a rocky outcrop near the ice shelf known as Bawden Ice Rise. NASA/UMBC glaciologist Chris Shuman likens this zone to a nutcracker. A-68 has repeatedly smashed against the rise and caused pieces of ice to splinter into clean-cut geometric shapes. An area of geometric ice rubble is visible in the Landsat 8 image from October 14, 2018, two days before the IceBridge flight.” NASA’s Earth Observatory statement said.

By November 2018, the iceberg bumped into other bergs and smashed into smaller pieces. The chunk has also made its way into open water, which is deadly for icebergs.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/47" rel="author">Hira Bashir</a>
The latest discoveries in science are the passion of Hira Bashir (). With years of experience, she is able to spot the most interesting new achievements of scientists around the world and cover them in easy to understand reporting.




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