The modern world is full of impressive locations and places that ordinary people consider exotic. Antarctica is one such place — while researchers can spend months there, other people rarely visit this region during their lifetime. This is not the case anymore. Nowadays, tourists are able to take a trip to the Antarctic region with quite the comfort! However, Antarctica is a dangerous place and you should prepare for your first expedition there.

So, preparation is imperative for a great and safe expedition and knowledge is power — especially when it comes to such daring trips. That is why it is important to know some facts about Antarctic icebergs to avoid any sort of misconceptions and frustrations during your fare.

Types of Icebergs

Technically speaking, any piece of ice that is larger than 16 feet can be boldly called an iceberg. That is why different pieces of ice are categorized differently. So, let us begin.

Tabular Iceberg

When speaking about tabular icebergs, it is required to imagine a piece of ice with a flat top and steep sides. Depending on the size, such a structure can be referred to as an ice island. There are lots of these in Antarctica.

Non-Tabular Iceberg

Now, this is the type that we usually imagine when hearing the word. These icebergs come in a variety of shapes:

• Dome — the one with a rounded top;

• Wedge — the one with one steep edge, pretty similar to a pyramid tip;

• Pinnacle — a variety with one or several spires.

How They Are Formed

Originally, every iceberg out there was a piece of ice that formed on land. It is important to understand that the development of such a big chunk of ice takes time — hundreds and thousands of years. As the snow falls, it forms either glaciers or ice sheets that cover the land. So, if you happen to spot your first iceberg during an expedition, it can become an exciting moment for you.


When it comes to lifespan, Antarctic icebergs last longer than the ones from the Northern hemisphere. The reason is quite simple — these chunks of ice become smaller as they reach warmer waters, often breaking down into smaller ones in the process. As Antarctic ice has been forming for thousands of years, it takes much more time for an iceberg to “cease.”


Sometimes, larger specimen are occupied by various animals. Think of seals, penguins, and even polar bears! So, keep this in mind when considering your first expedition — you might stumble on some impressive sights that will delight any wildlife enthusiast out there! So, get your equipment ready for some astonishing photos and videos.

Why Knowing About Types and Sizes is Important

When you decide to venture on an Antarctic expedition, you should be aware of one simple fact — icebergs are dangerous and the famous Titanic disaster is a prominent example of why. The infamous Titanic incident caused the United States and 12 other countries to form the so-called International Ice Patrol that has the purpose of warning ships about dangerous icebergs in the North Atlantic region.

You might think that this is great as ships have access to information about those big chunks of ice and you’re right, partially. The main danger comes from the smaller icebergs as they are not registered and tracked by the International Ice Patrol.

This is why your ship should have a perfectly functional and working radar. However, it becomes useless if you are traveling in seas that have lots of ice. That is why staying vigilant is the best way to avoid any potential danger.

Final Thoughts

So, this article provided more than enough essential information about icebergs. As it turns out, these chunks of ice have their own categories and are formed during hundreds and thousands of years. Some of those, mostly tabular ones, can even host miniature ecosystems with seals, penguins, and polar bears.

Knowledge is power and being aware of the dangers posed by icebergs is crucial for anyone preparing for their first expedition to Antarctica. The Titanic disaster is not the only incident that involved icebergs and that is why the International Ice Patrol exists in the first place. So, keep that in mind.

Still, if you actually decide to venture into the Antarctic waters for new and memorable experiences, be ready for astonishing sightings and an adrenaline rush. What could be better than to explore charming seas like captain Nemo?