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Physics

Why does an iceberg have more thermal energy compared to a hot cup of coffee?

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Wiki User
03/01/2018

First note that "thermal energy" is a term that is long since obsolete. The correct term is "Internal Energy". "Thermal energy" was a term that was in use when people thought of energy as being some kind of fluid called "caloric" that was transferred between things at different temperatures.

With that said: an iceberg has more internal energy when compared to a hot cup of coffee mainly due to the variance in size. Total internal energy is not necessarily determined by the presence of heat but the mass of the molecules present.