Etymologically, iceberg means “mountain of ice” – ice formed by fresh and pure sweet water.
The nice fact is that the mountain of ice is much bigger than it seems. 90% of the size is below the surface and only 10% of it is visible above the sea when floating and moving away from the glacier.
Not all the glaciers are the same; icebergs come only from active and calving glaciers that are facing the sea.
Strong winds and currents help icebergs to move ahead to the open ocean, or to get stuck in the coastline or shallow waters, where they often melt away during the summer or get stuck – frozen into the sea ice – during the winter season.
From time to time when we lucky to see blue icebergs, we are watching a very old piece of ice. As I mentioned in a different blog, the ice turns into blue because of the lack of air bubbles.
When the snow falls over the glacier, it melts and compresses, inhibiting the luminescence from passing between its air molecules.
Ancient glacier ice usually forms at the bottom of the glacier, so it remains harder and denser, making it easier to keep the blue color.
What do you think about when you see an iceberg?
Every time I see an iceberg, I imagine it has been somewhere in the glacier, being part of it, maybe in the deepest side, maybe at the top of if, or maybe right in the middle, keeping the temperature at the heart of the iceberg, listening to the water running through the caves, collecting snowflakes, staying steady during the storms, shaking a little bit when being touched by the seawater, etc.
It is also interesting and good to pay attention at the shape and find out how many lines it has, revealing how much it has been flipping over, cracking, and or becoming more transparent through their journey.
All icebergs in Greenland were part of the Icecap at some point because they came from the glaciers which are connected to the ice sheet.
All these pictures are mine, taken in Kulusuk, East Greenland during the summertime; Ilulissat, West Greenland during the summer and autumn; and Nuuk, the magic capital of Greenland. And I cant wait to visit South Greenland to see more!
Next time you see an iceberg, don’t think of it as a piece of ice, but as a thing that has been alive during the last decades and now its life is coming to an end, and you are luckily witnessing it. Icebergs are the ice cubes Earth chose to toast for the arctic.
Here is one of my favorite short videos I took in Nuuk!