Text and pictures © 1997-2023 Guillaume Dargaud
Last updated on 2022/09/05
"I am obsessed with ice cubes. Obsessed." — Drew Barrymore.
Left: Twin Otter flying above a 'small' tabular iceberg.
Right: Flying above the edge of the ice shelf. This is an example of what can break and form into tabular icebergs.
Left: An old iceberg with old marks from scraping the bottom of the sea in a previously different position. When they become small enough that their width is similar to their height, tabular icebergs start rolling over and stabilize into a new position, until the erosion from the sun and the air at the top removes enough material to tip the balance again. Sometimes near the coast they get stuck on shallow depths by the tides. Seeing an iceberg roll over is an impressive sight as it takes several minutes to stabilize into a new position, with great splashes of water.
Right: In summer the tides and sea currents tend to move icebergs around quite a bit. In winter, the hundreds of km of sea-ice surrounding the continent act as as damper on the water motion, thus no more moving icebergs, they stay put for the duration of the winter like those icebergs from the edge of the Astrolabe glacier.
Right: What's the use for icebergs ? Well, there have been ideas of dragging them to countries that lack freshwater and some tests have been performed, but the overall cost is no better than a modern desalination plant. No, the real use of icebergs is as a resting place for penguins. Adelie penguins always stays close to the ice when at sea, so they can rest whenever necessary. A small group of them is visible on the lower angle part of this iceberg.
Right: Moonrise above an iceberg of the Astrolabe glacier at Dumont d'Urville
Right: The highest, hardest and last iceberg Grosnitho and I climbed. Climbing icebergs is a lots less fun than one might think, between the cold freezing your hands on the ice axe, the high-pressure ice that shatters on hitting it and the risk of having the berg tip over...
Right: The Astrolabe, the french antarctic resupply ship, coasting between icebergs before reaching the station of Dumont d'Urville. As the Titanic as shown, better not come too close. A radar helps too.
Right: The Lambert glacier, dominating the upper part of the image and largest glacier on the planet with its 400km of width, often calves icebergs the size of small countries into the Antarctic ocean (right). A smallish iceberg can be seen on this satellite image moving away from the smaller glacier at the bottom. Some even larger icebergs sometimes separate from the major ice shelves found in the Ross sea or the Weddell sea.
By the way, if you want to play at drawing an iceberg and see how it would float, try The Iceberger.