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Apr 15

Sinking of the Titanic

Iceberg
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Iceberg
Tip of the Iceberg
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“We are all tips of the iceberg.” ~ Ashlecka Aumrivani

Icebergs come in myriad hues and multicolor patterns, even resembling striped candy. Icebergs can be green, blue, yellow or black. The ice can shine like a sapphire or be as murky as a frozen mud puddle. An iceberg’s color is determined by how it interacts with light. Basic physics would predict that icebergs should be blue. That’s 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).

The RMS Titanic was a British passenger liner that 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.

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.

Icebergs, despite the popular belief, are not just white but can display a range of colors, from white to deep blue, from green to brown and even black.  Bubbles of air trapped in the ice scatter the sunlight, causing the classic white color. Pure ice, without air bubbles, absorbs all wavelengths of the sunlight corresponding to red, yellow and green, only the wavelength corresponding to blue can pass. Humans, therefore, perceive pure ice as blue.

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"

As a piece of iceberg ice melts, it produces a fizzing sound called the "Bergie Seltzer". This sound results when the water-ice interface reaches compressed air bubbles trapped in the ice.

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

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

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