From Photoseek.com about one third way down the page:
«This striped iceberg originally formed by horizontal layers of snow depositing and compressing into a glacier, which broke off a floating chunk into the ocean. Differential melting and wave erosion caused the iceberg to roll onto its side, flipping the horizontal layers into the vertical lines seen here.»
Thanks for nice comments. I have to admit that the name «Marbled iceberg» may not be the correct name of such an iceberg. It was something I made up as I didn’t know what to call it. If it gets a name in Latin I hope it may be something like «Marblus Isbergus Tangus» (after me)
I didn’t think that icebergs moved quickly enough to have a wake frothing up behind them!(see both photos) Waves breaking on one end? Maybe but the sea looks to have no more than a ripple, not a wave in sight!
Sorry, just my paranoia kicking in.
The wake and frothing up behind them that you have noticed is caused by the end of the iceberd being just below the surface. So as it bobs up and down with the swell (very hard to see) it creates the froth.
Beautiful. Just like a marble. The light layers contain air bubbles that are trapped as snow is deposited and becomes ice. The deep blue layers appear to be ice without air bubbles, suggesting formation from liquid water instead of snow -perhaps deposited during the autumn during events of mixed snow and rain.
very beautifull, but it scares the $#!t out of me. those layers would only form on land. that means that the melting has reached a point where the sea ice is no longer holding back the land ice. in my expeirience the more beautifull the more dangerous.
Yes Neil! I have the original photos, but I promised the photographer to just publish in low resolution. Today I received a couple of other iceberg-photos from the Antarctic Ocean. I’ll publish them in a couple of days. Now I am writing a post about the bluefin tuna.
I have to agree with offplanetnow. I thought this was beautiful at first, (and then something about a stranded UFO came to mind… odd) But then something deeply disturbing occurred to me – this looks just like cliff rock at the beach. This is definately, as offplanetnow said, something that has been formed on land.
If this isn’t a beautiful wake-up call that global warming is coming on fast, I don’t know what is…
As a glacier moves it cuts into the land. The results are deposited on the sides of the glacier (called moraine). Sometimes it is carried with the glacier and deposited when the glacier ends or melts (called terminal moraine). It is possible this is formed by moraine.
offplanetnow spelled out my concern beautifully. I found this not too long ago http://www.recyclingsupermarket.com/environment/earth-clock-how-has-the-world-changed-today/ I read in the Globe and Mail recently (2 weeks tops) that scientists working on climate change research have asserted that their findings from 2007 are already obsolete with regards to Greenland ice sheet melting, since the pace has accelerated so quickly. Also, Greenland is the first instance known of melting ice causing earthquakes, 3 on the Richter scale!
This is an iceberg containing stripes of «marine ice». The stripes originated from crevasses in the iceberg (probably bottom-crevasses on an ice shelf) that filled with seawater which then froze. Most of the iceberg consists of bubbly bright ice which was formed by compression of snow; that’s why it has so many bubbles that make it bright; the dark stripes were formed by freezing of liquid water. We saw such striped icebergs in October 1996 near Davis Station. See my 1993 paper on green icebergs, which you can find at http://www.atmos.washington.edu/~sgw/PAPERS/1993_grenth.pdf; the stripes are mentioned briefly at the top of page 6927. We cite Wordie and Kemp (1933) who may have been the first to publish a report of striped icebergs. [Wordie had been a member of Shackleton’s Endurance expedition.]
I don’t know diddle about ice burgs, but I do know that that is a beautiful photograph.
As far as how it originated my layman’s guess would be that it began its life at the tip of a fyord. The strips are suggestive of run off layers from numerous spring melts. You could probably gauge the annual rain fall from the different layer sizes. The only question would be though is which side is up?
Congratulations for ‘offplanetnow’ to be the first to get it. That hunk of ice is OLD! The layered structure indicates that it formed on land and persisted through many different climatic conditions. Yup, it’s beautiful but it’s scary too.
Being a scientist on marine algal pigments, I guess most (maybe all?) of the coloured stripes in the candy-coloured iceberg can be due to algal growth, whether under floating ice or in water dams on top of the ice. Such microalgae can vary from dark red through brownish orange, brownish yellow and to various green colours.
The pigments are excellent preserved in frozen algal cells, and should therefore be intact within the ice. The pigments will be destroyed by light, in air and in melted slurry of icealgae, but as the ice melts, it will be washed away, so preserved algal pigments will appear in the ice below the layer that melted.
I do not know any alga that has a bright blue colour, but ice itself can apprear as blue, if frozen under the right conditions. This should be the reasonable explanation for the iceberg with the thick, clear blue layer.
Thanks for all comments. Sorry for not answering right away. I have been away for some days and I had no access to Internett. I do not have the answers regarding the colors of the iceberg. The comment from Einar is a better answer than I can give.
Some of you want to see closeups. What you see here is (unfortunately!) the only two photos the photographer got of the marbled iceberg. The vessel (G.O.Sars) was not on an «iceberg-survey». The course was set before the survey started, and no captain would have turned that kind of ship around (aborting all ongoing tasks on board) to take closeups of a strange iceberg. If the course is changed it is because the vessel is too close to an iceberg.
The photos of the icebergs were taken with a fujifilm finpix 6900 camera, using full zoom (10x).
Thiis is the photo of ythe year!
I think it may represent an old corroded iceberg, which has been sailing around in the Antarctic for some time. The coloured stripes must represent impurities in the ice and snow that fell on the Antarctic continent perhaps a thousand years ago. The red hue could be from dust that came from other continents, for example dust from Namibia, whereas the other colours are other types of impurities.
It would be interesting to have analysed a sample from each of these layers.
Very nice. I like the clarity of the picture of the ice berg. It must have been shot with a good camera. I would really like to dissect the ice layers and collect samples to see what they are made of. Can an ice berg be thousands of years old? Won’t it melt?
Sorry, chaps, but I’m a bit nervous. A different-looking iceberg in 2008 after centuries of looking at them? Hate to be pessimist, but I’d look for a sinister explanation first, then celebrate if I was wrong.
What a spectacular sight! I came across your site while checking out glaciers and icebergs. It’s really a frighteningly beautiful creation!
I imagine that like land (rocks and cliffs)- icebergs, over time, create layers of not just ice but whatever else might have been in WITH that ice. The rocks of the ocean? How one can look at a rock and sometimes see layers, here we have icebergs and see the layers. Simply lovely! Okay–I’m going on and on…
I love nature!
Thank you so much for sharing this super cool pic!