Where do icebergs come from?« Back to Questions List

The Polar Regions are alike in being cold and isolated. While Arctic is primarily a landlocked sea, Antarctica is a continent covering more than 5 million square miles. Icebergs are floating mountains of ice adrift in polar seas. They are found in both the Arctic and Antarctic. The Arctic bergs are the best known, which sometimes drift down into the heavily travelled shipping lanes of the North Atlantic. Most originate on the west coast of Greenland.




Ice caps are sheets of ice that covers the land area. If the area covered is less than 50000 Km2, then they are called ice caps. If the area covered is more than 50000 Km2 then they are called ice sheets. Huge glaciers from the edges of ice cap push out to the sea until finally great masses of ice break off with a thunderous roar, a process called calving. When ice enters water, it produces large and sometimes hazardous waves.


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Arctic icebergs may weigh more than 40 million tons and tower 400 feet above the sea, though most of their bulk remains submerged. Yet even the biggest are dwarfed by the flat topped icebergs of Antarctic. Calved from the margins of ice shelves that fringe the continent, these floating islands of ice are measured not in feet, but in miles. The largest on record was 60 miles wide and 208 miles long.


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