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Stunning jade icebergs leave Antarctic expeditioners in awe


Uncommon conditions have aligned at Australia's Mawson Base as expeditioners observe incredible jade green icebergs.


A breathtaking jade iceberg photographed near Mawson Base, Australian Antarctic Territory.
Auscape / UIG / Getty Images

Australian Antarctic expeditioners at Mawson Base have caught a rare glimpse of stunning emerald green hues in the Australian Antarctic Territory. A break from the boundless landscape of glacial blues and snow white, these jade green icebergs are an amazing phenomenon that are only formed when conditions are just right.

An enormous jade berg forms the backdrop for this inquisitive emperor penguin
Benny Bogusz / Australian Antarctic Division
While more familiar blue bergs are formed as frozen fresh water from thousands of years of snowfall breaks off from the plateau, much more specific conditions are required to result in these shades of green. They occur when sea water with mineral and organic content freezes to the base of ice shelves and breaks off to form icebergs of desalinated seawater. The emerald hues are a result of marine-derived organic matter that is present in the ice.

Check out more images of the jade bergs from Mawson Base here.


Sarah Condie is a freelance writer based in Melbourne.
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