What is the official term to describe a group of icebergs?

Asked by Andrea

Well Andrea, this really got a lot of attention when I surveyed a group of my glaciology colleagues. There is no ‘official’ term, but there are some commonly used phrases,often taken from nautical terms, like ‘armada‘ or ‘flotilla‘. Armada is more often used for a very large group of icebergs (such as Heinrich Events in the North Atlantic deep sea sediment record), and is a general term for a large group of floating objects gathered together. For smaller groups, people have used swarm, cluster, fleet, litter or drift. A group of icebergs circulating in an oceann current could be a gyre of icebergs. Grounded icebergs, that are not free floating, could be a shoal of icebergs. I think all of this is very emotive and beautiful.

There are some terms that have a very specific meaning. A melange is a mixture of frozen sea ice, icebergs, growlers and bergy bits (small icebergs) that exist within a fjord, at the margin of a calving glacier. The melange provides some back stress that supports the calving margin.

img_9629
Iceberg near Rothera, Antarctic Peninsula

Learn more about icebergs here: https://www.antarcticglaciers.org/glacier-processes/glacier-types/icebergs/

 

About

I am a Senior Lecturer at Newcastle Univeristy, specialising in glaciology and glacial geology. I wrote and developed the AntarcticGlaciers.org website as part of an ongoing commitment to outreach, education and research impact. Read more about me at www.antarcticglaciers.org/bethan-davies.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

This site uses cookies. Find out more about this site’s cookies.