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Images: Quake Causes Glacier surge at Aoraki Mt Cook

Mark Bascand from Glacier Explorers shows astounded passengers one of the many icebergs that calved into Tasman Lake today as a result of the earthquake.
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Mark Bascand from Glacier Explorers shows astounded passengers one of the many icebergs that calved into Tasman Lake today as a result of the earthquake.

Media release from Glacier Explorers

23 February 2011

Glacier surge at Aoraki Mount Cook National Park

Yesterday’s Christchurch earthquake triggered a spectacular glacier calving at Tasman Glacier Terminal Lake that is believed to be the largest freshwater Basal* calving in the world to be caught on camera.

The 30 million tonne iceberg calving at Aoraki Mount Cook National Park was observed and photographed by a Glacier Explorer guest who was savvy enough to capture the magnificent event on camera.

General Manager Tourism for Aoraki Mount Cook Alpine Village Ltd, Denis Callesen, puts it in perspective, “this series of photographs documents the calving event from 5km away.”

The terminal face of the Glacier was thrust approximately 60m above the lake level as a direct result of the quake which caused the Basal calving.

“This gives you some kind of idea of the enormity of this natural phenomenon,” said Mr Callesen, “If you were to pick the best time to do this trip anytime over the past 8,000 years, today would be good. The resulting iceberg action is simply amazing.”

Following the calving, Glacier Explorer boats are reporting superb viewing conditions on Lake Tasman and an extraordinary view of nature in action.

The calving has been the only known effect of the earthquake on the Aoraki Mt Cook National Park.

The park’s base camp – The Hermitage, is entirely unaffected by the earthquake and is working with the tourism industry to ensure rooms are available for visitors who had scheduled to stay in Christchurch.

Agents and wholesalers are urged to contact The Hermitage as soon as possible to reorganize any affected itineraries – everyone at The Hermitage is committed to ensuring travelers enjoy their holiday in New Zealand.

The iceberg calving:





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Up close and personal with an iceberg


ENDS

**** Earlier ****

Media release from Glacier Explorers, Aoraki Mount Cook 22 February 2011

Earthquake causes Terminal Face Collapse at Aoraki Mount Cook National Park

Passengers aboard two Glacier Explorer boats encountered numerous waves of up to 3.5 metres as around 30 million tonnes of ice collapsed into the Tasman Glacier’s Terminal Lake following today’s major earthquake.

General Manager Tourism for Aoraki Mount Cook Alpine Village Ltd, Denis Callesen, said the quake caused a major calving from the Basal and Terminal Face of the Glacier and that subsequent waves over the next 30 minutes caused the huge icebergs in the lake to roll, in turn causing more disturbance.

Gerry Lemon Glacier Explorers guide explaining to fascinated passengers the dynamics of a newly arrived iceberg. The blue colour only remains for a few hours.
Click for big version

Gerry Lemon Glacier Explorers guide explaining to fascinated passengers the dynamics of a newly arrived iceberg. The blue colour only remains for a few hours.

“We have procedures to deal with this type of event and for some time have stayed 800 metres away from the Terminal Face as we suspected it was becoming unstable,” he said.

The calving was the third biggest event in the history of the Terminal Lake, which is now over six kilometres long and two kilomtres wide in places, following a huge calving last July.

Mr Callesen said this was the first quake felt at the Aoraki Mt Cook Village since the major quake last September.

ENDS

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