Tourists Witness Astonishing Iceberg Flip in Svalbard, Norway

Tourists Witness Astonishing Iceberg Flip in Svalbard, Norway


In an extraordinary spectacle, tourists were treated to a breathtaking display as a massive iceberg dramatically flipped over just meters away from them in Svalbard, Norway.

The iceberg’s rollover, a highly uncommon occurrence, captivated onlookers as it occurred right off the coast.

The irregular shapes of icebergs often lead to instability and rocking, causing them to flip as they break away from their parent glacier.

This mesmerizing event was captured on film by Rebecca Lucas Gan and Brian Gan from the Philippines, who were on a voyage with Silversea Cruises.

Rare Phenomenon of Iceberg Flipping

Scientifically, the flipping of icebergs is a compelling phenomenon, akin to the release of energy from an atomic bomb upon impact.


The sheer force generated during this event has the potential to trigger tsunamis, particularly in the most extreme cases.

The occurrence took place near Lilliehookbreen, a massive glacier complex spanning 13 miles in width along the western coast of Svalbard’s archipelago.

This region is known for its extensive glacier coverage, constituting around 60% of Svalbard’s landmass, with ice volume reaching a staggering 7,000 km³.

Icebergs vs. Glaciers: The Distinction

The distinction between icebergs and glaciers lies in their size and formation.

Glaciers, immense moving masses of ice, originate from the accumulation of snow at high elevations. As these glaciers move downward, they often fragment to give rise to icebergs.


To qualify as an iceberg, it must be at least 98 to 164 feet in thickness and cover an area of 0.9 square miles.

In comparison, glaciers are much larger, with minimum sizes of 0.062 square miles.

A Remarkable Witnessing

Rebecca Lucas Gan, one of the eyewitnesses to this remarkable iceberg event, shared her astonishment.

Initially, she believed her eyes were playing tricks on her, as she had never seen such a spectacle before.

The guide accompanying the tourists highlighted the rarity of the event, emphasizing their luck in witnessing it unfold.


The phenomenon occurred at Lilliehookbreen, a part of the expansive glacier complex on Svalbard’s west coast.

Glaciers, Calving, and Climate Change

Calving, the process by which icebergs detach from a glacier, is a natural occurrence.

However, recent decades have witnessed a significant acceleration in calving and glacier thinning, attributed to climate change.

The Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling reports a noticeable increase in this process since the mid-1990s.

Svalbard’s temperatures have risen substantially, with summer temperatures reaching up to seven times the global average.


This warming trend has led to profound impacts on the local ecosystem, affecting species like polar bears and reindeer, who struggle to find food amidst changing conditions.

Alarming Signs of Melting Greenland Ice Sheet

The consequences of climate change are evident in regions beyond Svalbard.

The Greenland Ice Sheet has experienced alarming melting due to rising summer temperatures.

Satellite images taken before and after summer reveal a significant reduction in snow cover, leaving the ice sheet more susceptible to melting.

This phenomenon contributes to rising sea levels, a pressing concern in the context of global climate change.


As these remarkable events unfold, they serve as stark reminders of the ongoing changes in our environment and the urgent need to address climate-related challenges.

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