These striking pictures of icebergs with multi-colored stripes or banding were taken by a Norwegian sailor named Oyvind Tangen while he was aboard a research ship about 1,700 miles south of Cape Town, South Africa.
As the London Times reported of the processes that created the striations displayed in these unusual candy-striped icebergs:
Keith Makinson, of the British Antarctic Survey, said that icebergs that seemed to show stripes were quite common in southern waters, but it was the first time that he
had seen brown stripes. They are believed to be created when ice crystals form under the water and, in a process described as “inverted snow”, rise to stick to the bottom of the ice shelf. As the ice crystals form a new layer at the bottom of the ice shelf, which later fragments to float away as icebergs, tiny particles of organic matter are trapped.
Parts of dead marine creatures such as krill form much of the trapped material and have the effect of creating coloured stripes, mainly blues and greens, in icebergs. Dr Makinson said that the brown stripes in this example were likely to have been formed from sediment washing underneath the ice shelf.
Photographs of similarly-patterned icebergs can be viewed at the web site of the Australian Antarctic Division.
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