ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

What Is An Iceberg? How Are Icebergs Formed?

Updated on August 26, 2011


Ever since Titanic turned into a mega-blockbuster hit in 1997, with A-list Hollywood stars such as Kate Winslet and Leonardo Di Caprio as its cast, the world has been fascinated by the eternal love story between Rose and Jack and the sheer solid strength of icebergs. Grossing over USD 1 billion worldwide, the movie spawned off a series of documentaries about shipwrecks and massive icebergs on National Geographic and the History Channel. While some still ponder how the pseudo-indestructible 46,000 ton ocean liner met its match with an iceberg, others set out to learn more about icebergs and how they originate.

Ice berg


Icebergs are huge chunks of freshwater ice, floating on open water, broken off from glaciers or ice shelves. While some may end up becoming an ice island, many of them are still floating, a major hazard to fishing boats and liners that may come in contact with it. Due to the negligible densities between pure ice and sea water, icebergs are only partially surfaced, about one-eightth of its volume, the rest of the iceberg completely submerged under water. Hence, due to this, it is terribly difficult to judge the size and volume of the icebergs, with most captains of ships knowingly avoiding even the smallest looking iceberg.

Icebergs mainly originate from the sub-zero environments of Greenland and generally weigh between 100,000 to 200,000 tons. These massive ice blocks generally range from one to seventy five meters above sea level though the largest recorded iceberg was recorded at 168 meters above sea level, the height of the Washington Monument. Even though massive in size and mass, icebergs move a lot in the open water and is terribly difficult to differentiate an iceberg from normal ice chunks. Icebergs usually move up to 65 feet a day.

World of floating icebergs

Since the sinking of Titanic in 1912, requests and calls were made to monitor ice flow and the movement of icebergs. In 1914, the International Ice Patrol was formed, monitoring the largest icebergs in Newfoundland and informing ships of its locations. Since 1995, icebergs have been monitored by the US National Ice Center (NIC). The NIC have published locations and geographical attributes of icebergs, thanks to orbiting satellites that capture the images and relative size and mass of the icebergs. Since the inception of the International Ice Patrol and National Ice Center, the number of hull damages on ships caused by icebergs has dwindled considerably.

The largest iceberg ever recorded was the Iceberg B15, with an area of 11,000 square kilometers. The iceberg, at its largest, was the size of the state of Rhode Island. However, it has since broke apart into several chunks and its largest piece ran aground and broke apart further in 2005. While this may seem like a good thing for the safety of ships that said around these tormented waters, icebergs play a monumental part in the global environment.

While icebergs are seen mostly as a menace and serve no cause to the environment, it actually plays a crucial part to both the environment and ocean life. With technological advances and the use of satellites, movement of these icebergs can now be tracked and information can be used to find out more about the warming Earth.

Icebergs are essential to the global environment for several reasons. Scientists study icebergs to study the disintegration of Antartica to find out the effects of global warming. Biologists study icebergs to see how it affects ocean life. Studies have shown that icebergs are floating feeding stations containing millions of planktons and other sea life that support the ocean life. Oceanographers study icebergs because its movement influence sea currents and they are used to assist the movement of ships and locations to avoid.

So, if you have watched Titanic only because of its star attraction or its undying romance tale, perhaps it is time to tune it again, only pay more attention to the iceberg and its surrounding environment this time to value the danger it brings yet the wealth of information that can be unearthed from it.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      bla bla 

      7 years ago

      hi im bla bla i like global warmin 2. ur rite anyway u take it where gonna die

    • profile image

      brandon foster 

      7 years ago

      i like global warming. were gonna die sonner or later

    • ocbill profile image


      9 years ago from hopefully somewhere peaceful and nice

      I recently reaad some overwhelming evidence that there is not glbal warming. I am a environmentalist but the story simpyl said from a well-known foreign scientist that it is a normal cyclical process of the sun moving closer nd then another period of it moving back which will cause more colder than normal weather I guess we'll see if more experts support that view.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)