Icebergs: Big and Blue

Tasiilaq
Greenland
August 27, 2015

So, you like icebergs?  I mean like really big ones?

The book Icebergs by Christian Kempf shows you and tells you everything you ever wanted to know about big icebergs … and maybe even more.  *

The photographs are outstanding.

The Table of Contents includes: glaciers and ice caps, iceberg routes, classifications, shapes (tabular, arch, pinnacle, bestiary), colors, and explorers.  There’s an entire chapter on The Titanic.

There’s an Iceberg Glossary: everything from Agglomerated Brash, to Bergy Bit, to Firn, to Growler, to Ram and Rill, to Tsunami, to Very Large Iceberg – an actual classification of an iceberg jutting more than 75 meters (246 ft) above the surface of the sea with a length of over 200 meters (656 ft).

The Inuit natives and the main group of inhabitants of Greenland, the Kalaallit, have a rich vocabulary of words to describe the ice, since 79% of the country is covered by it.  The author lists eighteen words, but admits there are about forty words to describe snow and ice.  (Apparently, the “well-known fact” is actually true.)

Did you know that about one thousand species of tardigrade, a kind of worm, live on the ice?  They are tiny eight-legged creatures which measure 0.1 mm (.004 inch) to 1.5 mm (.06 inch) and can withstand temperatures as hot as 150C (221 F) and as cold as -272C (-457F).

Here’s something to think about: An iceberg 550 meters long by 300 meters wide and 20 meters high (1804 ft x 984 ft x 65 ft) has a total mass of around 60 million tons which is about 60 billion liters of water (16 billion gallons) – enough water to meet the needs of a town of 550,000 inhabitants for over a year.

Tired of facts and figures? 

On the Internet I searched for “Tip of the Iceberg.”   I found a website with poems.  As you can imagine, most of the poems are about cold hearts and frigid personalities and sorrow and despair and worse.

A few of the poems are entertaining.  The last one is my favorite:

Elisa Maria Argiro
The Iceberg Poem

These words, floating to the surface,
come from amongst an ocean of others.

Sleeping, ripening, unformed,
swimming in darkness, some rising
into green, translucent waters.

Titles, remembered images, voices
of loved ones, colours, scents,
secret moments, never spoken aloud.

More, and more still, residing,
unseen, unheard, unknown
beneath this iceberg of words.
………………………………………………………………..

           Tip of the Iceberg by Pussy Cat
.     
                                   iceberg
                            iceberg iceberg
                           iceberg   iceberg
                           iceberg   iceberg
                            iceberg iceberg
                            iceberg iceberg
                            iceberg iceberg
                            iceberg iceberg
                            iceberg iceberg
                            iceberg iceberg
                            iceberg iceberg
                            iceberg iceberg
                            iceberg iceberg
                            iceberg iceberg
                            iceberg iceberg
                            iceberg iceberg
                  i c e b e r g              i c e b e r g   
              iceberg iceberg     iceberg iceberg
            iceberg iceber g      i c eberg   iceberg
             iceberg iceberg       i ceberg iceberg
                  i c eberg                     i c eberg

..............................................................................................
             Measurements

If my love for you were a dollar,
I'd have a lot of gold;
if my love for you were an iceberg,
the world would be freezing cold.

If my love for you were a flower,
gardens would be everywhere;
and if my love for you were power,
I'd rule the world without despair.
…………………………………………………………………………
                             

                            Walter W. Hoelbling
                                     Floating

like icebergs
we keep floating
through our lives
   tops in the present
   bulky bodies in the past

what lies unseen below the surface
steadies our course

above
we take it as it comes
sun, rain, and snow & ice & wind

sometimes it melts us down a bit
but overall
it makes the bulks of our bodies grow

the new weighs heavily and
pushes what was new before
   downward
day by long day

until
in balmy southern waters
we slim down
and then
   one day
a final ache splits
upward from the bottom
through the consolidated matter
    of all years

and we drown
………………………………………………………………………

* Icebergs.  Christian Kempf. Les Éditions de l'Escargot Savant.  Le Thillot – 21230 Viévy France. 2014
www.escargotsavant.fr

 

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