NASA spots mysterious near-perfect rectangle iceberg in Antarctic

Perfectly cubic pyrite crystals on marlstone. Image credits Carles Millan

Perfectly cubic pyrite crystals on marlstone. Image credits Carles Millan

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.

However, according to NASA, there's a simpler scientific reason why the iceberg appears to be a flawless rectangle.

Well here's something you don't see everyday: an iceberg so unbelievably geometric in shape you'd think it was deliberately carved with a very big chainsaw.

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.

NASA tweeted a photographed of a long, flat, rectangular iceberg last week, breaking up the popular (but false) notion that icebergs are always spiked mountains of frost rising formidably out of the ocean.

It even has a name: A tabular iceberg, a type of iceberg both broad and flat.

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Brunt said the iceberg could be unstable and break if someone were to walk on it. We get the type that everyone can envision in their head that sank the Titanic, and they look like prisms or triangles at the surface and you know they have a insane subsurface.

Kelly Brunt, a glaciologist with Nasa and the University of Maryland, said the process of formation was a bit like a fingernail growing too long and cracking off at the end.

Categorized as a tabular iceberg, the square-like iceberg was estimated to be over a mile across.

"What makes this one a bit unusual is that it looks nearly like a square", she told the LiveScience website.

The agency also captured a triangular berg drifting in the Weddle Sea.

Sea ice comes in many types and forms, depending on the stage of development and the meteorological, atmospheric, and other physical conditions.

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