Icebergs

As much an icon of the polar regions as polar bears and penguins, these slabs of freshwater ice are the free-floating offspring of glaciers and ice shelves

Icebergs

Icebergs: the children of glaciers

Few pieces of natural phenomena are more linked to Antarctica and the Arctic than icebergs. Even the least polar-inclined know the basics: Icebergs are chunks of floating ice, the bulk of their shape rests below the surface of the water, and one of them sank a very historic ship – while launching a number of cinematic careers. But there’s a lot more to these fascinating ice formations than that.

What Is an iceberg? Meaning, definition, facts

Ice shelves and glaciers are far from static; they are always either building up or breaking down. Especially in a warm climate, this breaking process (known as calving) is accelerated, and it often happens that a piece of ice breaks off from its glacial origin and falls into the water. The natural buoyancy of these freshwater ice fragments, which can contain air bubbles that are tens of thousands of years old, keep the calved chunks afloat. This is how icebergs are born. They can be as large as mountains or as small as mole hills, though take care not to confuse them with ice floes, which are flat (and smaller) sheets of broken sea ice.

Icebergs in Antarctica and the Arctic

Icebergs form in both the Arctic and Antarctica, though in different ways and in different forms. In the Arctic, icebergs commonly start their lives in the enormous Greenland Ice Sheet, which spills its frozen contents through openings in the mountain ranges that line the coast. Crevasses form in these glaciers due to the landscape’s irregular topography, leading to smaller icebergs that are more unusually shaped than those of Antarctica. Antarctic icebergs generally outsize their Arctic siblings, sometimes weighing several billion tons and possessing the dimensions of small islands. They calve off from floating ice shelves, which populate about 30% of the Antarctic shoreline.

The largest of the biggest: Larsen C, A68, and B-15

Though icebergs occur in both the far north and far south, Antarctica is known to produce the real behemoths. Some of the largest ice formations ever recorded, in fact, have made headlines in world news. In July 2017, the Larsen C Ice Shelf, the fourth largest ice shelf in Antarctica, produced one of the most colossal icebergs ever witnessed in the modern world: A68, larger than the state of Delaware and twice as large as Luxembourg. Years before this, in the spring of 2000, the B-15 iceberg broke off from Antarctica’s Ross Ice Shelf. B-15 remains the largest berg ever recorded. At its most massive, it was larger than the island of Jamaica, boasting 11,000 square km (4,200 square miles) of surface area, a width of 37 km (23 miles), and a length of 295 km (183 miles).

Ice shelves, glaciers, and global warming

When planetary climates rise, ice shelves and glaciers naturally melt and calve at a faster rate. This in turn leads to the production of more icebergs. Many scientists blame human-caused global warming, claiming that the calving of massive icebergs like B-15 and A68 is the direct result of carbon dioxide and other pollutants released into the atmosphere by industry. Other researchers, meanwhile, argue that calving is a natural process, and that the breaking off of giant icebergs is not necessarily a harbinger of worse human-caused ice conditions to come. 

Interessant? Teilen Sie Ihre Wertschätzung:

Ähnliche Reisen

Antarktis - Basecamp

Die aktivste Reise in die Antarktis

PLA25-19. Die Antarktische-Halbinsel-Basecamp-Reise bietet eine Vielzahl von Möglichkeiten, die Antarktis zu erkunden und zu genießen. Diese Expedition ermöglicht es Ihnen, zu wandern, mit Schneeschuhen zu laufen, Kajak zu fahren, Berge zu besteigen und sogar unter dem südlichen Polarhimmel zu campen.

m/v Plancius

m/v Plancius

Reisezeit:

18 Dez - 29 Dez, 2019

Preis:

auf Anfrage

Rossmeer, inkl. Hubschrauber

der Südpolkreis und die Antarktische Halbinsel - Peter I Insel - Rossmeer - Campbell Insel - Enderby Insel | Die spektakulärste Antarktis-Expeditionskreuzfahrt aller Zeiten!

OTL27-20. Segeln Sie in die südlichen Teile der Antarktischen Halbinsel, Peter I Island, Bellingshausen und Amundsen See und ins Rossmeer. Besuchen Sie das Ross Eisshelf, Dry Valleys, Campbell Island, Enderby Island und die historischen Hütten von Scott und Shackleton.

m/v Ortelius

m/v Ortelius

Reisezeit:

13 Jan - 15 Feb, 2020

Preis:

27500 USD

Chevron

Spitzbergen – Nordost-Grönland

Eine klassische Reise zu drei Inseln: Eis, Inuit und Abgeschiedenheit

RVR27-20. Die Reise Spitzbergen & Nordost-Grönland ist charakterisiert von atemberaubenden Landschaften. Die Expedition führt durch Gebiete, in denen Robben, Seevögel, Wale und Eisbären leben.

s/v Rembrandt Van Rijn

s/v Rembrandt Van Rijn

Reisezeit:

28 Jul - 15 Aug, 2020

Preis:

auf Anfrage

Antarktis - Basecamp

Die aktivste Reise in die Antarktis

PLA22-20. Die Antarktische-Halbinsel-Basecamp-Reise bietet eine Vielzahl von Möglichkeiten, die Antarktis zu erkunden und zu genießen. Diese Expedition ermöglicht es Ihnen, zu wandern, mit Schneeschuhen zu laufen, Kajak zu fahren, Berge zu besteigen und sogar unter dem südlichen Polarhimmel zu campen.

m/v Plancius

m/v Plancius

Reisezeit:

21 Nov - 2 Dez, 2020

Preis:

8050 USD

Rossmeer, inkl. Hubschrauber

Die spektakulärste Antarktis Reise überhaupt!

OTL27-21. Segeln Sie in die südlichen Teile der Antarktischen Halbinsel, Peter I Island, Bellingshausen und Amundsen See und ins Rossmeer. Besuchen Sie das Ross Eisshelf, Dry Valleys, McMurdo Station, Macquarie Island, Campbell Island und die historischen Hütten von Scott und Shackleton.

m/v Ortelius

m/v Ortelius

Reisezeit:

13 Jan - 15 Feb, 2021

Preis:

27700 USD