Monolithic rectangular iceberg photographed by Nasa

NASA’s sea ice survey captures bizarre perfectly rectangular iceberg

The peculiar iceberg

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.

What you're looking at here is a tabular iceberg.

Though scientists in Antarctica regularly spot these steep-walled "tabular" icebergs - many almost square or rectangular - they certainly look like freaky, unnatural forms in such a wild Earth environment.

During the survey, created to assess changes in the ice height of several glaciers draining into the Larsen A, B and C embayments, IceBridge scientist Jeremy Harbeck spotted a very sharp-angled, tabular iceberg floating among sea ice just off of the Larsen C ice shelf.

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Despite its usual appearance, "tabular icebergs" like these are actually completely natural, Kelly Brunt, a NASA glaciologist and an associate research scientist at the University of Maryland said in an interview with Live Science.

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.

Brunt observed that the square-like iceberg appeared new at the time because its edges still looked sharp-signs that wind and water had not done their jobs of eroding the iceberg's surface. Once they split from an ice shelf, they are often geometric in shape.

Explaining how the iceberg formed, she said: "We get two types of icebergs: 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".

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"My guess is that A68 will continue rotating as it is now around that western point, until what is currently the northern edge collides with the Larsen C ice front". That iceberg measured about 2,300 square miles, as NPR's Geoff Brumfiel reported.

"IceBridge and ICESat-2 both use laser altimeters that fire pulses of light toward the ground and measure how long it takes for that light to bounce off the ice and return to the instruments' sensors", NASA said earlier this month.

Scientists from the European Space Agency wrote in September, 'Sea ice to the east and shallow waters to the north kept this giant berg, named A68, hemmed in. "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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