Icebergs of Antarctica

It is a well known fact, that most of the iceberg’s volume lies beneath the water. Expressions, such as “I can only see the tip of the iceberg” underline the fact, that most of the iceberg body is hidden under water. And there’s the “Titanic”, which was hit by an iceberg and sank. Reason why in 1914, governments have established an Ice Patrol to monitor iceberg movements.

Taking a picture of a huge iceberg
Taking a picture of a huge iceberg
Lemaire Channel - the Kodak passage
Lemaire Channel – the Kodak passage
At the Iceberg alley
At the Iceberg alley
View from the top of Andvord Bay
View from the top of Andvord Bay

The definition of an iceberg is ice that broke off from glaciers or shelf ice, then floating on the water. Moreover, to be classified as being an iceberg, it must rise more than 5 meters above sea level, thickness should be 30 to 50 meters – and the ice must cover an area of at least 500 square meters. Smaller ice peaces are called “growlers”.

Our first iceberg leaving the Drake Passage
Our first iceberg leaving the Drake Passage
Art deco style iceberg
Art deco style iceberg
Iceberg impressions
Iceberg impressions
More iceberg impressions
More iceberg impressions

The basic classification of icebergs is done by shape (tabular versus non-tabular). Further sub-classifications exist.

Before setting off for the Antarctic trip, I was sure that after seeing a couple of icebergs, we would become accustomed and tired of seeing them everyday. The contrary was happening. Everyday, we discovered more variety in icebergs than we could anticipate. Variety came not only by shape, but also by composition and light effects.

Blue colored scars in an iceberg
Blue colored scars in an iceberg
Hole in the iceberg
Hole in the iceberg
Water soaked blue iceberg
Water soaked blue iceberg
Blue iceberg creating color shift
Blue iceberg creating color shift

After seeing a variety of white icebergs in many shapes, we went for an excursion to the blue icebergs. The blue ice is formed from the snow compressing that develops into glacial ice. When we came near these blue icebergs, the waves of light from the red color spectrum started to be absorbed, while those from the blue spectrum became more prominent. This was an eerie effect for all of us on the zodiac who became silent in admiring this natural phenomenon.