10 icebergs which look like works of art

Icebergs in all shapes and sizes show off nature’s supreme artistry. These should be in a gallery!
By Josh Gale

As they gradually melt away to nothing, icebergs take on forms we wish could last forever. Their impermanence is partly why they’re so captivating. They are chunks of frozen freshwater broken, or calved, from glaciers that have hit the ocean. The average is about the size of a 15-storey building. One of the tallest was 168m high. An estimated 10,000 to 15,000 icebergs calve every year and that number will increase as the planet warms. While not good for delicate marine systems, at least more icebergs means more stunning photos like these.

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Jokulsarlon Glacier

Icebergs that look like art
Black and ice © Getty Images / Hemis.fr RM

Located in Iceland’s Jokulsarlon Glacier, this iceberg’s smooth curves give it the appearance of a black and white cat. That smokey black ice isn’t graff work; it’s a result of Cryoconite – windblown dust full of nasties including bacteria, tiny rock particles and an increasing amount of coal soot.

Tabletop iceberg, location unknown

Icebergs that look like art
A table-top iceberg floats at dusk © Getty Images / Johner RF

There are a total of six different iceberg shapes: blocky (tall and flat), domed (like a turtle shell), drydock (U-shaped), wedge (pyramid topped), pinnacle (spire-shaped) and tabular. This tabletop shape, or tabular, iceberg is standard for Antarctic icebergs.

Ice island, near Antarctica

Icebergs that look like art
Against stormy skies © Mike Hill

Icebergs from Antarctica are the real big daddies. Some are so monstrous they’re called ice islands. Their size gives them a longer life span than their northern counterparts. Sometimes they drift for more than three years.

Pinnacle iceberg, Greenland

Icebergs that look like art
A pinnacle iceberg in Greenland © Getty Images / Minden Pictures RM

This iceberg with a mighty pinnacle calved from glaciers in Greenland. Weathering causes these unusual formations. One berg from Greenland made it all the way to Bermuda.

Weddell Sea, Antarctica

Icebergs that look like art
Iceberg alley, Weddell Sea, Antarctica © Aurora Photos

Antarctica produces the greatest volume of icebergs in the world – about 93 percent of the world’s mass. Some icebergs calved from the frozen continent are more than 80km long. If overnight all the ice on Antarctica were to melt, you’d be rowing to work tomorrow; the sea level would rise over 60m.

Pleneau Bay, Antarctica

Icebergs that look like art
Pleneau Bay, Antarctica © Aurora Photos

This iceberg floating in Antarctica’s Pleneau Bay illustrates the saying “the tip of the iceberg”. Barely a sliver above the surface, and like most icebergs, only one 10th of this one’s mass is above the surface.

'Bergy bit', Greenland

Icebergs that look like art
Jokulsarlon, Iceland © Aurora Photos

This compact-car-sized iceberg, technically called a “bergy bit” due to its size, washed up on a black sand beach in Iceland. It was cruising from Greenland to the North Atlantic Ocean via a stretch of water called Iceberg Alley because of its bumper berg traffic. It normally takes two or three years for bergs to make the nearly 3,000km journey.

A place for penguins, Antarctica

Icebergs that look like art
Where penguins play... © Aurora Photos

Just chillin’ on this stylin’ blue berg, these chinstrap penguins have found safe haven from the badass predators lurking in the Antarctic waters below. So how did that ice get all blue and pretty? It’s mix of O2 and water which traps red and green light waves, but allows blue light to escape.

South Georgia Island

Icebergs that look like art
South Georgia Island © Aurora Photos

This pillar-shaped iceberg originally calved from Antarctica, and floated to South Georgia Island. Some of the largest icebergs in the world pass this remote island. In 2012 a 35km-long, 28km-wide frozen white monster floated over to say hi.

On the iceberg expressway

Icebergs that look like art
Greenland © Jay Dickman / National Geographic Creative

The Davis Strait in Greenland’s Labrador Sea is the LA expressway for icebergs. This kindly berg even formed an arch to free up the highway for other travellers.

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