The almost perfectly rectangular iceberg spotted by NASA’s Operation IceBridge is nothing unusual or unnatural, CNN reported.
Quoting glaciologist Jan Lieser, who is with the Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre, the report stated that straight lines and sharp angles on ice sheets are a known phenomenon.
“There’s no one going around with a chain saw and chopping it off,” Lieser told CNN.
Lieser explained that the straight breaks in the ice sheet comes down to the structure of the snow crystals and how they react to stresses.
Operation IceBridge is NASA’s longest-running aerial survey of polar ice. It flew over the northern Antarctic peninsula on 16 October, with the aim of assessing changes in the ice height of several glaciers draining into the Larsen A, B, and C embayments.
The flight originated from Punta Arenas, Chile, as part of a five-week-long IceBridge deployment, which began 10 October and is scheduled to conclude on 18 November.
Senior support scientist Jeremy Harbeck spotted a very sharp-angled, tabular iceberg floating among sea ice just off of the Larsen C ice shelf, and took a photo – which was widely shared after it was posted on social media.
The rectangular iceberg appeared to be freshly calved from Larsen C, which in July 2017 released a massive iceberg called A68.
“I thought it was pretty interesting; I often see icebergs with relatively straight edges, but I’ve not really seen one before with two corners at such right angles like this one had,” Harbeck said.
“I was actually more interested in capturing the A68 iceberg that we were about to fly over, but I thought this rectangular iceberg was visually interesting and fairly photogenic, so on a lark, I just took a couple photos.”