Thursday, March 16, 2006

Something Missed

From AP News, via

Portion of Patagonian Glacier Collapses[1]

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina - A vast Patagonian glacier shed a 200-foot wall of ice with a roar during the night, sending debris plunging into a lake in southern Argentina as hundreds of tourists struggled to watch in the dark.

About 400 tourists were on hand when the Perito Moreno ice bridge collapsed, a phenomenon that has been repeated every few years. This time, cameras were unable to capture the final crack late Monday night.

Carlos Corvalan, supervisor at Los Glaciares National Park, said a section of ice had been showing signs it was ready to fall for three days before it finally gave way at 10:55 p.m.

Corvalan told the independent Diarios y Noticias news agency that many spectators had been keeping a round-the-clock vigil, sleeping in their cars at an overlook. Although it was a cloudy night with visibility obscured, he said the booming sound of cracking ice could be heard for miles.

"It was quite a sonorous event, quite impressive," Corvalan said.

A branch of the Perito Moreno glacier regularly advances across the lake, repeatedly forming a natural ice dam. The latest wall of ice fell as lake levels began rising on one side, exerting enormous pressure. Only a portion of the 3,000-year-old glacier, known as the "White Giant," was affected.

On Monday, the Todos Noticias television network frequently interrupted regular programming with live footage of large chunks of ice breaking from the towering glacier and crashing into the water.

The footage also showed a kind of natural tunnel forming inside the glacier ice, reminiscent of the March 12, 2004, collapse, when a huge section crashed into the water as tourists on shoreline walkways cheered and shot footage with video cameras.

The glacier is one of 48 at Los Glaciares National Park, an international tourist destination visited by thousands of people visit each year, about 1,335 miles south of Buenos Aires in the remote Santa Cruz province.

Ok, so that would have been damn cool. Maybe a little dark but still...

[1]© 2006 The Associated Press

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