East Antarctica: Tabular Icebergs

Most of Antarctica is covered by permanent ice and the ice shelf extends out well beyond the land in many spots. Large blocks of iceberg, known as tabular icebergs, calf off the ice shelves from time to time and float into the open Southern Ocean. These icebergs are massive and the biggest ones often get names and are tracked as they float out often for many years. Tabular icebergs calming off in the East Antarctica and the Ross Sea are named with a letter B and number, and the world’s largest iceberg B15 calved off here in 2000 at the size of 11,000 sq km (4,200 sq mi). As we pushed ice around trying to get to the French station of Dumond d’Urville we came across an almost perfect wall of tabular icebergs, massive ones, probably stranded along a sea ridge and making any further access almost impossible.