Mysterious rectangular 'monolith' iceberg spotted by NASA

Ismael LynchOct 24, 2018

Nasa recently took this photo of a rectangular size iceberg floating off the Antarctic ice shelf.

"It's just incredible", said Scambos of the Wilkins tabular icebergs.

This iceberg captured by NASA - akin to the Wilkins icebergs - was also pretty new and fresh, which certainly helped its profoundly sharp, nearly unnatural appearance.

But in fact, there is little that is particularly unusual about the iceberg photographed floating near the Larsen C ice shelf in Antarctica, as sea ice specialist Alek Petty explains. Strong winds blowing from Larsen C have finally given it the push it was waiting for.

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. Petty compares it to a glass plate that shatters - the lines are typically very straight.

"It's not uncommon to see that in Antarctica - although that [the tabular iceberg spotted by NASA] is a fresh and sharp looking one", Ted Scambos, a senior research scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center, said in an interview.

After years of anticipation by scientists, a formation the size of DE broke off from Antarctica last year.

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.

Covering an estimated 5,800 sq km, the Larsen C ice shelf extends along the east coast of the Antarctic Peninsula from Cape Longing to Smith Peninsula. By contrast, iceberg A68's surface area measured some 2,240 square miles at the time of calving.

Known as a tabular berg, the massive block of ice is thought to measure one kilometre long. "Scientists can then calculate the distance between the aircraft or the satellite and the ice surface, which gives them the ice height".

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