Inside an iceberg “cave,” you’ll find a shimmering world of turquoise crystals. ©Candice Gaukel Andrews
Icebergs, those floating carvings that rival any great artist’s sculptures, are enthralling. Because they move, tip, constantly change and evolve, they seem to be living, “breathing” creations. They become even more precious when you realize that the shapes you see in them today could be totally different tomorrow. Not many masterpieces can claim that.
The other reason that I find icebergs so mesmerizing is that I believe they all might eventually disappear. Our planet is warming so fast that I sometimes wonder if far into the future there will be any cold places left. Glaciers, icebergs—winter itself, even—may become things we have to explain to our grandchildren, who will never be able to experience them in person.
American novelist Ernest Hemingway—famous for his short-sentence writing style—once compared his writing to an iceberg. Just as most of an iceberg remains largely unseen beneath the surface of the water, he believed that a writer should leave parts of a story unwritten. If the writer is writing truly enough, he felt that a reader would get a feeling for those left-out things as strongly as if the writer had stated them. “The dignity of movement of an iceberg is due to only one-eighth of it being above water,” he wrote.
Below, I’ve gathered together some images of icebergs from three places on the planet where you can still see them:
• Greenland and
So, if you’re currently sweltering due to another hot summer, take a break with this short, visual journey through the ice. I hope you find something that’s not explicitly shown or stated in these images; a feeling, perhaps, that touches you—just below the surface.
Here’s to finding your true places and natural habitats,
Antarctica and Greenland, home to the planet’s ice sheets, are the chief sources of the world’s icebergs. ©Candice Gaukel Andrews
Although icebergs float in the ocean, they are made of frozen freshwater, not saltwater. ©Candice Gaukel Andrews
Seals living off the coast of Antarctica use icebergs as haul-outs. ©Candice Gaukel Andrews
Given the world’s current rapid climate change, our grandchildren may never see a real iceberg. ©Candice Gaukel Andrews
Iceberg formations are precious because they are temporary. ©Candice Gaukel Andrews
A “tabular berg” is flat-topped and forms as ice breaks directly off an ice sheet or ice shelf. ©Candice Gaukel Andrews
Most icebergs in the Northern Hemisphere break off from glaciers in Greenland. Sometimes, they drift south with the currents into the North Atlantic Ocean. ©Candice Gaukel Andrews
Inflatable Zodiac boats are ideal for cruising among icebergs. ©Candice Gaukel Andrews
As little as one-eighth of an iceberg is visible above the water. Most of its mass lies below the surface. ©Candice Gaukel Andrews
“Columns” on icebergs appear as the ice melts unevenly. ©Candice Gaukel Andrews
Icebergs that drift into warmer waters eventually melt. Scientists estimate the lifespan of an iceberg—from first snowfall on a glacier to final dissolving in the ocean—to be as long as 3,000 years. ©Candice Gaukel Andrews
The Patagonia Plateau holds magnificent mountains, breathtakingly beautiful glaciers and dazzling icebergs. ©Candice Gaukel Andrews
The contours you see today in an iceberg may not be the same as those you would see tomorrow. ©Candice Gaukel Andrews
Nature fashions forms in ice that would baffle even the most skilled sculptor. ©Candice Gaukel Andrews
Some icebergs are blue for the same reason water is blue. The chemical bond between oxygen and hydrogen in water absorbs light in the red end of the visible light spectrum. ©Candice Gaukel Andrews
Blue icebergs are not blue for the same reason the sky is blue. The sky is blue due to atmospheric scattering of light, a different phenomenon. ©Candice Gaukel Andrews