On Wednesday, an enormous Delaware-sized chunk of ice broke off the Larsen C shelf in Antarctica in a natural — though not completely unrelated to climate change — calving process. Or: The ice was accidentally blown off by a secret military that’s stationed on the continent to keep everybody from realizing that the Earth is flat.
Both plausible explanations, no?
The internet’s resident science-deniers were quick to respond to the iceberg separation on Wednesday. On the positive side, they brought humor to a grim event. On the less positive side, they spouted utter nonsense into the interwebs.
The conspiracy theories that circulated on social media seemed to fall mainly into one of two categories. Here’s a brief breakdown:
1. Armies guard the flat Earth’s edge (which is just beyond Antarctica), and one accidentally blew off the iceberg.
Military activity is actually forbidden in Antarctica, according to the 1961 Antarctic Treaty. Seven countries have claimed territory there, and 30 operate research bases on the continent; but no country has a military base, per se, although it’s true that some strategically blur the line between military and scientific personnel or equipment.
Flat-Earthers, of course, believe that the world is shaped like a 360-degree pancake, with Antarctica wrapping around the whole edge. Above the world lies the “firmament,” a solid dome that encapsulates heaven.
According to this community, various governments are stationed in Antarctica to keep citizens from learning the truth. Flat-Earthers propagate the lie that there is an enormous, unambiguous military presence there; and apparently some flat-Earthers now think that these troops conduct bomb exercises that can get a bit out of hand — like, for example, by accidentally blowing off a trillion-ton iceberg.
2. We’re not sure exactly why this happened, but it’s something to do with Barack Obama or Buzz Aldrin.
Many conspiracy theorists don’t claim to know what happened, but they’re pretty sure as to who the responsible parties are (“nature” is not among them).
One Facebook user is “so looking forward to what will be revealed” when more information is exposed about the activities on Antarctica that led to this incident. “Why have so many major political and major religious leaders of the world made life threatening trips (i.e. Buzz Aldrin) to Antarctica in the past few years?” they ask. The user also believes that a big military presence is stationed there, and is suspicious that “it sure looks like a whole lot more than 4,000 people live there now,” including “physical therapists of all things.”
Twitter user @bbnfan89 theorizes this about the iceberg separation: “B4 people start calling it climate change, let’s remind them a lot of activity going on n Antarctica w/Obama being there recently & J.Kerry.”
She’s built up quite a dark and vague Antarctica conspiracy over the course of 2017.
If there are secret armies in Antarctica, the penguins probably know all about it.Photos via Getty Images / Pool