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NASA’s sea ice survey captures freakish, perfectly rectangular iceberg

24 October 2018

Although it's often said that there are no straight lines or ideal 90-degree angles in nature, they do happen, albeit rarely.

The study is the largest airborne survey of Earth's polar ice ever flown, taking 3-D images and keeping track of sea ice thickness.

"A tabular iceberg can be seen on the right, floating among sea ice just off of the Larsen C ice shelf", the USA space agency said. Because the recently photographed iceberg was still sharp around the edges, NASA scientists said it's likely that this berg was cleaved off not too long ago.

In a world besieged by climate change-induced chaos and disruption, one satisfying image of order has emerged.

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"The best thing I can say is that when a "trillion tonne" iceberg runs into an ice-covered rocky island (Bawden Ice Rise) the crystalline glacier ice will fracture along planes of weakness, much like a more typical mineral crystal might be cleaved".

An iceberg recently spotted by NASA scientists looks like it was carefully cut into a flawless rectangle, and it's getting a lot of attention because of those unexpected angles and straight lines.

It's hard to tell exactly how big the iceberg is from the photo, but experts said it was probably more than 1.6km (1 mile) across.

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.

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"The 'bergs detaching from Larsen C are so big, they look perfectly rectangular or with linear features because they were created from rifts that run across the ice shelf for hundreds of kilometres straight", he notes. They are wide and flat and long, like sheet cake, Brunt said.

As with all icebergs, the part visible above the surface is just the top 10 percent of its mass.

The calving of the huge iceberg reduced the size of the ice shelf by 12%.

In any case, users stressed that the iceberg certainly looked interesting, with several suggesting it reminded them of a scene out of Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey.

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NASA’s sea ice survey captures freakish, perfectly rectangular iceberg