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When San Franscisco-based photographer and filmmaker Alex Cornell happened upon this otherworldly chunk of ice in Cierva Cove on the western side of the Antarctic peninsula, he was blown away by the rare site he was witnessing.

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The astonishment comes from the fact that the large majority of an iceberg’s mass, about 90%, is almost always submerged below the glacial water’s surface. Perhaps you’ve seen an image like this before describing what I mean.

While the tops of most icebergs are white, the one that Cornell came across revealed a glassy, deep blue underbelly which he described as looking ‘alien-like’.

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Photo Credit: @AlexCornell

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Photo Credit: @AlexCornell

Icebergs are such beautiful wonders of nature, there is something so silent yet powerfully roaring inherent in their form.

Cornell’s trip to the Antarctic wasn’t just based around icebergs, however. During his voyage he also managed to perfectly capture the untainted spirit of our planet’s most desolate continent.

 “The trip overall was amazing — Antarctica is pretty clearly a very unique place. We crossed the Drake Passage and got really lucky with calm seas (relatively). Once there, we’d usually go ashore twice a day via Zodiac boats. Another highlight was spending time with penguins. They are terrific animals — bumbling, determined and cute. Icebergs and penguins: two very different sights, but each fascinating in their own way!”

When I see images of the Antarctic, I find myself overwhelmed with a sense of vulnerability and isolation. It reminds me of our evident mortality in a way because it does not contain the luxuries of civilized life. But even still, I can’t help but appreciate the purity of an area of the world that is still so untouched.

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For more amazing pictures be sure to check out Cornell’s website or follow him on Twitter @AlexCornell. Enjoy!

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