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Iceberg Day

“We are all tips of the iceberg.”

~ Ashlecka Aumrivani

The word iceberg is a partial loan translation from the Dutch word ijsberg, literally meaning ice mountain. In contrast, smaller chunks of floating glacially-derived ice are colloquially called "growlers" or "bergy bits". Icebergs can contain up to 10% air bubbles by volume. These bubbles are released during melting, producing a fizzing sound that some call "Bergie Seltzer". Icebergs come in myriad hues and multicolor patterns, even resembling striped candy. The ice can shine and reflect light light a gemstone or be as murky as a frozen mud puddle. Although basic physics would predict that icebergs should be blue [because “pure ice”—frozen water that is free of contaminants—absorbs longer wavelengths of visible light (yellows and reds) more effectively than shorter ones (indigos and blues)], icebergs can be green, shades of blue, yellow, or even black! 🧊

Icebergs developed their fearsome modern reputation after the RMS Titanic, a British passenger liner  sank in the North Atlantic Ocean in the early morning of 15 April 1912, after colliding with an iceberg during her maiden voyage from Southampton, UK, to New York City, US.  

Since 1912, reports made by witnesses of the RMS Titanic tragedy have stated that the ship hit a blue iceberg. 

Following the sinking and subsequent discovery of the Titanic, scientific research and forensic analysis have reconstructed the tragedy to ascertain the reliability of the statements made by the survivors. Reports released in the last decade of the 20th century have shown that a blue iceberg in the north Atlantic would have been easily detected. Alternative theories suggest that pack ice, rather than a blue iceberg, was responsible for sinking the ship

An iceberg or ice mountain is a large piece of freshwater ice that has broken off a glacier or an ice shelf and is floating freely in open water. It may subsequently become frozen into pack ice (one form of sea ice).  About 90% of an iceberg is below the surface of the water.

A blue iceberg is visible after the ice from above the water melts, causing the smooth portion of ice from below the water to overturn.  The rare blue ice is formed from the compression of pure snow, which then develops into glacial ice.  Older icebergs reveal vivid hues of green and blue, resulting from the high concentration of color, microorganisms, and compacted ice.   According to the new theory, green icebergs form from blue ones, coated by a thin layer of yellow-reddish ice caused by iron compounds trapped in the ice. 

One of the better known blue icebergs rests in the waters off Sermilik fjord near Greenland. It is described as an electric blue iceberg and is known to locals as "blue diamond."

This tartan designed by Carol A.L. Martin is inspired by the colours of icebergs floating in the ocean.

For more about the infamous iceberg that sank the titanic, click the picture.

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