Icebergs are floating chunks of ice. They come in many different sizes and are found in the seas around Antarctica and the North Atlantic Ocean.
Although these icy formations are beautiful, they can be very dangerous to ships. Remember the Titanic? It sunk because an iceberg tore a hole in its hull.
Let’s discover some more cold hard facts about icebergs!
How is an Iceberg Formed?
Icebergs are formed when ice breaks off (or calves) from a glacier or larger piece of ice.
Like us, these chunks of ice and snow come in all shapes and sizes. The largest iceberg ever known stood 550 feet (168 meters) out of the water. That’s about the height of the Washington Monument!
This huge iceberg was spotted by the Coast Guard in Melville Bay, Greenland.
That’s Just the “Tip of the Iceberg”
You may have heard people saying “that’s just the tip of the iceberg.” This saying means there is more to the story than what you can see or already know about. The same is true for an iceberg.
Scientists think that seven-eights of any iceberg is hiding under the water – that’s almost the whole thing!
This is also why they are tricky to navigate around.
An Iceberg by a Different Name (Is Still a BIG Chunk of Ice)!
Before an iceberg can be called an “iceberg” it has to be at least 16 feet across (4.9 meters).
Smaller chunks of ice also have their own names.
Bergy bits are less than 15 feet (4.6 meters) across. They can rise from 3 to 13 feet out of the water (1 to 4 meters).
Growlers are usually less than 6 feet in length (1.8 meters). These very small chunks of floating ice rise only about 3 feet (1 meter) out of the water. They got their name from the sound the trapped air makes when it’s escaping from the melting iceberg.
However, despite their smaller size, these icebergs can be more dangerous than the big ones, because they are harder for ships to see.
A floeberg is a massive piece of sea ice composed of pressure ridges or hummocks (ice that rises up because of movement of the pack ice or the pressure of ice floes jamming and crushing against each other). Flowbergs have separated from the ice pack and can protrude up to 16 feet (5 meters) above sea level.
The International Ice Patrol
After the Titanic sank in 1912 close to Newfoundland, people realized that icebergs were very dangerous to ships.
A group of countries got together and formed The International Ice Patrol. They use radar and airplanes to find icebergs and let ships know where they are so that they can avoid them.
What do you think of icebergs! They’re pretty “cool,” right? Leave us your thoughts in the comments section.