What Are Icebergs?

When a glacier, or river of ice, reaches the sea, a piece of it often breaks off, falls into the sea, and floats. These broken-off pieces of glaciers are called icebergs. Icebergs come in all sizes, from 20 feet across up to 200 miles across.

Some icebergs rise as high as 400 feet above the ocean’s surface, but this is only a small part of it, for a much larger part lies beneath the surface.

The record-holder for size is an iceberg sighted in the South Pacific in 1956. This Antarctic iceberg was 208 miles long and 60 miles wide, an area twice as big as the entire state of Connecticut.

Because the sun melts the top of icebergs more quickly than the part hidden underwater, icebergs are very dangerous to passing ships. In 1912, the huge ocean liner Titanic hit an iceberg and sank, killing 1,513 people.

Icebergs are formed by frozen fresh water, even though they float in salt water. Because of this, they are sometimes used as an emergency supply of fresh water by sailing ships!

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

2 thoughts on “What Are Icebergs?”

  1. An ocean liner is usually a ship used to transport people from one seaport to another along regular long-distance maritime routes according to a schedule. Liners may also carry cargo, and may sometimes be used for other purposes (e.g. for pleasure cruises or as troopships).

  2. “Because the sun melts the top of icebergs more quickly than the part hidden underwater” – is this supposed to mean the part above water is smaller because it melts away? I believe a floating iceberg will rise higher if it partially melts, thus exposing new ice above surface. Perhaps I misunderstood the meaning of the sun here?

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