While on vacation with his family, designer and filmmaker Alex Cornell captured the exquisite beauty of the underbelly of an iceberg. Last month, Cornell traveled with his mother and sister on a National Geographic expedition in Antarctica. “A landscape peppered with icebergs is a special one indeed,” he wrote to The Washington Post. “I think the most overwhelming thing about them is their scale. … The thought of ice towering over you is pretty remarkable.” As impressive as icebergs are, many of them look the same. But when Cornell reached Ciera Cove, he saw something different — an iceberg of a deep, blue color: “I didn’t know what I was looking at — after all, I was still acclimating to the typical icebergs. The naturalist on-board was thankfully very quick to explain to us how lucky we were to spot such an unusual looking specimen. His excitement quickly translated to the rest of us.”
The National Snow and Ice Data Center explained that glacial ice becomes blue when it becomes very dense: “Years of compression gradually make the ice denser over time, forcing out the tiny air pockets between crystals. When glacier ice becomes extremely dense, the ice absorbs a small amount of red light, leaving a bluish tint in the reflected light, which is what we see. When glacier ice is white, that usually means that there are many tiny air bubbles still in the ice.” Cornell believes the iceberg flipped over recently due to the lack of snow of top of it. It’s not a rare occurrence, but it is indeed a beautiful one. “I took a substantial amount of photos as we made our way around, and I’m glad I did,” he said. See Alex Cornell’s work on his Web site or find him on Instagram.