Nature fol­lows cer­tain laws, but the results are most often fick­le and asym­met­ri­cal, like clouds, coast­lines, and ocean waves. But when NASA sci­en­tists flew a test flight over the north­ern Antarc­tic Penin­su­la a cou­ple of weeks ago as part of Oper­a­tion Ice­Bridge, they noticed a neat­ly carved, rec­tan­gu­lar ice­berg drift­ing calm­ly in the mid­dle of the chaot­ic ice. Every­one found this find quite inter­est­ing.

rectangular iceberg

While ice­bergs with rel­a­tive­ly straight edges are fair­ly com­mon, this was the first time any­one had seen an ice­berg with two right-angled cor­ners, explained Jere­my Har­beck, senior sci­en­tist at the Ice­Bridge pro­gram.rectangular iceberg

This type of rec­tan­gu­lar for­ma­tion is called a tab­u­lar ice­berg. They are most often wide, flat, and long, like a sheet cake. Such ice­bergs chip off the edges of ice shelves like peel­ing nails if left untrimmed for too long. These frac­ture lines can form inter­est­ing geo­met­ric struc­tures such as rec­tan­gles and tri­an­gles. This rec­tan­gu­lar ice­berg has a width of about one and a half kilo­me­ters. It just recent­ly broke away from the Larsen Ice Shelf.

It is worth not­ing that the won­ders of the ice world nev­er cease to amaze us with their diver­si­ty. For exam­ple, ice­bergs can also often be striped, where­by the stripes are paint­ed in dif­fer­ent col­ors.

See also
The colorful waters of San Francisco Bay