Iceberg Calving

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When sections of glaciers break off to create icebergs, scientists call it calving. Usually large sections of ice will break off and immediately capsize, with an energy equivalent to up to 40 kilotons of TNT. These large events are sufficient to cause measurable seismic signals. How hydrodynamic forces impact the contact and pressure forces between the calving iceberg and the glacier are still being researched, though recent laboratory experiments and numerical models suggest that hydrodynamics substantially increase these forces. The video above shows one of the largest calving events ever caught on camera, and the scale of the process is just stunning. (Video credit: Chasing Ice; additional information from J. C. Burton et al. 2012; submitted by jshoer)

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