Mysterious Green Icebergs In Antarctica Finally Explained


Some things in life are just a given; for example, the sky is blue, the grass is green, icebergs are white (or have a light blue tinge).

But then science comes along and changes everything. Suddenly, everything you think you know turns out to be a lie and icebergs are actually green.

Well it turns out they can be, and now a team of researchers believe they know why some icebergs in the Antarctic look emerald green in colour.

Green icebergs have puzzled scientists for decades, with the strange phenomena popping up around the Antarctic since the early 1900s – much to the confusion of Antarctic explorers.

But now researchers believe they have cracked the code and have figured out why certain icebergs appear to have an emerald green tint.

According to the research published in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans – run by the American Geophysical Union (AGU) – the icebergs may look green because of iron oxides in rock dust from mainland Antarctica.

You can take a look at the study’s findings below:

Although the unusual icebergs have been popping up since the early 1900s, their colour was originally seen as an impurity, USA Today reports.

But now researchers believe they play a much greater role; if experiments prove the new theory, it would mean green icebergs are carrying precious iron from Antarctica’s mainland to the open sea, helping to feed organisms that support nearly all marine life.

Stephen Warren, a glaciologist at the University of Washington and lead author of the new study, said in a statement:

It’s like taking a package to the post office. The iceberg can deliver this iron out into the ocean far away, and then melt and deliver it to the phytoplankton that can use it as a nutrient.

We always thought green icebergs were just an exotic curiosity, but now we think they may actually be important.


Warren now believes iron oxides in glacial flour from rocks on Antarctica’s mainland are responsible for creating the green hued icebergs.

He, along with other researchers, is now proposing to sample icebergs of different colours for their iron content and other properties.

If their theory holds, it will prove that green icebergs are much more important than scientists initially thought.

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