10 Incredible Icebergs Among Nature's Works of Art

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

As they gradually melt away to nothing, icebergs take on forms we wish could last forever, but 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-story building. One of the tallest was 550 feet 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.

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

Jökulsárlón Glacier

Located in Iceland’s Jökulsárlón Glacier, this iceberg’s smooth curves give it the appearance of a black-and-white cat. That smoky 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.

 

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

Tabletop Iceberg (Location Unknown)

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 tabular, or tabletop, iceberg is standard for Antarctic icebergs.

 

Icebergs that look like art
Against stormy skies © Mike Hill

Ice Island, Near Antarctica

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

 

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

Pinnacle Iceberg, Greenland

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.

 

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

Weddell Sea, Antarctica

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 50 miles long. If all the ice on Antarctica were to melt overnight, you’d be rowing to work tomorrow; the sea level would rise over 195 feet.

 

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

Pleneau Bay, Antarctica

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

 

Icebergs that look like art
Jokulsarlon, Iceland © Aurora Photos

"Bergy Bit," Greenland

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 icebergs to make the roughly 1,850-mile journey.

 

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

A Place for Penguins, Antarctica

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? Its mix of O2 and water, which traps red and green light waves but allows blue light to escape.

 

Icebergs that look like art
South Georgia Island © Aurora Photos

South Georgia Island

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 28-mile-long, 17-mile-wide frozen white behemoth floated over to say "hi."

 

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

On the Iceberg Expressway

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

See more amazingly icy stories in the links below:

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