Published: Wed, October 24, 2018
Research | By Jody Lindsey

Mysterious rectangular 'monolith' iceberg spotted by NASA

Mysterious rectangular 'monolith' iceberg spotted by NASA

You can see similarly eerie, geometric precision in a geological phenomenon called 'columnar jointing,' which creates near-perfect hexagon shapes in certain types of rock. The calving is accelerated when warmer temperatures cause meltwater to trickle into the splitting cracks and widen the ice shelf division.

NASA also shared a picture of a perfectly triangular block of ice found nearby and taken on the same trip, Operation Icebridge.

It looks like it has been cut that way deliberately, but this huge iceberg is simply a wonderful display of nature's awesomeness and beauty.

NASA's ongoing, decades-long survey of polar ice has yielded some truly incredible photographs over the years, but one recent still captured what appears to be a perfectly, nearly impossibly rectangular iceberg. Others said it reminded them of the monolith from "2001: A Space Odyssey".

The expansive ice shelves that create the icebergs are hanging off of Antarctic land, somewhat similar to the flimsy tape extended out from a tape measure.

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The BBC explains that the iceberg probably separated recently from the Larsen C ice shelf, and such new breakaway bergs are sometimes "geometrically" shaped.

Shuman said: "Those forces plus the natural fracture mechanics of ice as it ran into the rocky ice-covered island are how the many fragments of the main berg were formed at that time".

"This one came from the crumbling Larsen C ice shelf on the Antarctic Peninsula". Brunt added that only about 10 percent of the iceberg's mass is visible, the rest being underwater.

"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.

It is estimated to be around 1 mile (1.6km) wide.

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