Alien Altar? NASA Spots a Perfectly Rectangular Antarctic Iceberg

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"And then you have what are called 'tabular icebergs.'" Kelly Brunt, an ice scientist with NASA and the University of Maryland, told Live Science.

"The ice has time to spread out and become perfectly flat", Poinar adds, so when an iceberg breaks off from a large ice shelf along an existing fissure, it looks like a large, flat rectangle. Scientists have documented this sort of thing before, but this latest 'berg, which recently split from Antarctica's Larsen C ice shelf, happens to be a rather extraordinary example.

Such objects are not unknown, however, and even have a name - tabular icebergs.

We rarely see those flawless edges, he added, because of the "rough and tumble lives" of typical icebergs. Others said it reminded them of the monolith from "2001: A Space Odyssey".

Covering an estimated 5,800 sq km, the Larsen C ice shelf extends along the east coast of the Antarctic Peninsula from Cape Longing to Smith Peninsula. "You can just get these fracture lines that can form these interesting geometric structures", he says, and points out a different, triangle-shaped iceberg spotted by NASA scientists recently.

The size was hard to guess, Ms Brunt said, but suggested it was likely more than a mile long.

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"What makes this one a bit unusual is that it looks nearly like a square", she told the LiveScience website.

"My guess is that A68 will continue rotating as it is now around that western point, until what is currently the northern edge collides with the Larsen C ice front".

And as with all icebergs only 10% of it is visible; the rest if buried below the surface of the water.

The survey, code-named Operation IceBridge, is created to watch for changes in the ice levels at several glaciers across Antarctica.

That was not the only shape that scientists spotted last Wednesday.

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