Nature is messy. It’s often geometric, but also riotous and irregular and asymmetrical.
Rarely will you see straight edges or 90-degree angles – so when these things show up in a natural environment, it looks really, really weird?
Take this iceberg NASA photographed in Antarctica last week as part of Operation IceBridge. Sitting amid a chaotic jumble of floating ice, it looks perfectly rectangular, as though it was deliberately cut.
But you can relax. There are no ice-cutting aliens out there, snickering over the hilarious practical joke they’re playing on unsuspecting humans, nor is there a secretive group of humans in Antarctica with massive saws cutting ice for nefarious unknown reasons.
That ‘berg is perfectly natural.
When we think of icebergs, we tend to think of huge chunks of ice with pointy spires and domes, with its bulk extending down below the surface of the water. But these are just one of two kinds of iceberg classified by shape, called non-tabular icebergs.
Tabular icebergs, by contrast, look more like this rectangular ‘berg. They’re large slabs of ice with nearly vertical sides and a flat top, and they often form by calving office shelves.
And these tabular icebergs can be enormous – hundreds or even thousands of square kilometers, such as the 11,000 square kilometer (4,200 square mile) B-15, the largest iceberg ever recorded.
It’s the penguins who did this.
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