Tasman Glacier Loses 30 Million Tonnes of Ice After Devastating Earthquake

earthquake iceberg photo

Photo: (AAP: Denis Callesen, via ABC)

A magnitude 6.3 earthquake struck New Zealand's South Island city of Christchurch just before 1 pm local time. Unlike the 7.1 Richter scale quake which occurred in September of 2010 this one has caused extensive property damage resulting in the loss of of least 65 lives. A figure likely to unfortunately rise as more collapsed buildings are examined for survivors.

Also affected by the earthquake was the country's longest glacier, the Tasman, at Aoraki Mt Cook National Park about 200 kilometres (124 miles) from Christchurch. There, according to reports from tour companies, massive icebergs have carved off the face of the glacier, sending an estimated 30 million tonnes of ice into Terminal Lake. Aoraki Mount Cook Alpine Village tourism manager Denis Callesen believes it is the third biggest amount of ice to fall in the history of Terminal Lake.in a report noted by Adelaide Now, Denis Callesen says it been expected that this 'ice would break off - given recent heavy rainfall in the area and La Nina weather conditions - but it had not been anticipated an earthquake would trigger the dramatic event.'

NB: We're not entirely sure of the timing of the above photo. The UK's Daily Mail and Australia's Nine MSN, along with many other media outlets, are suggesting it shows the new earthquake-induced icebergs in Terminal Lake, but the New Zealand Herald indicates the photo precedes the earthquake.
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