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It's not just people that earn their stripes — sometimes, icebergs do, too.

via Flickr

Striped icebergs don't normally get the iceberg spotlight. People tend to think of glaciers as giant, cloudy white hunks of ice, and often, they are. That's because many are formed of compressed snow, known as glacier ice, or are covered in snow.

That compressed snow forms bubbles, and when light hits those bubbles, it scatters everywhere. This makes icebergs appear as white, or sometimes tinged with a hint of blue, to human onlookers.

But in Antarctica, waters are chilly enough to freeze seawater. When that happens, the glaciers are formed without bubbles.

So, the light reflects off the icebergs differently, and can appear as stunning, crystal clear jade or blue.

That seawater can also work its way into the cracks of glaciers. As the water freezes within those fissures, it can create cool stripes of different shades of blues amidst the white glaciers.

via Flickr

And it's not just blue stripes that can form in glaciers. Depending on what kind of organic material has collected in the seawater, such as dust rich with iron or algae, the stripes can even appear in incredible shades of red, yellow, black and green.

The natural striped phenomenon is one of the most incredible sights in Antarctica.

But it's more than just a cool sight. Those stripes can help teach scientists about how glaciers have been formed over time and how they change as water temperatures rise.

In addition, studying what's inside some of those colored stripes can let researchers know what kind of organic material gets caught up and frozen inside seawater.

That's all information that hopefully someday they can use to help learn more about the mysterious waters of the Antarctic.

Add your name right now to make a difference for marine life and our oceans with Oceana.

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