The Bluest of Ice

BBC Earth (Asia) - - Contents - NASA

Ac­quired on Novem­ber 29, 2017 by Op­er­a­tion IceBridge dur­ing a flight to Vic­to­ria Land, this im­age shows an ice­berg float­ing in Antarc­tica’s Mc­Murdo Sound. The part of the ice­berg be­low wa­ter ap­pears bluest pri­mar­ily due to blue light from the wa­ter in the Sound. The un­der­sides of some ice­bergs can be eroded away, ex­pos­ing older, denser, and in­cred­i­bly blue ice. Ero­sion can change an ice­berg’s shape and cause it to flip, bring­ing the sculpted blue ice above the wa­ter’s sur­face. The unique step­like shape of this berg—com­pared to the tab­u­lar and more sta­ble berg in the top-right of the im­age— sug­gests that it likely ro­tated some­time af­ter calv­ing.

Op­er­a­tion IceBridge—an air­borne mis­sion to map po­lar ice—re­cently made sev­eral flights out of the Mc­Murdo and Amund­sen-Scott South Pole sta­tions, giv­ing re­searchers greater ac­cess to the in­te­rior of the icy con­ti­nent. For the ninth year in a row, flights over Antarc­tica have turned up am­ple science data, as well as spec­tac­u­lar im­ages.

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