Massive, historic calving - ‘trip of a lifetime’
Terminal face prior to calving (stitched)
Terminal face after calving (stitched)
Press release from
Glacier Explorers, Aoraki Mount
23 August, 2010
Massive, historic calving sets up for ‘trip of a lifetime’ at Glacier Explorers
Thirty to 50 million tonnes of ice has crashed off the Tasman Glacier Terminal Face in a massive calving that has resulted in at least 20 significant ‘bergs floating in the Tasman Glacier Terminal Lake – adding more drama and spectacle to an already dramatic landscape.
The process began earlier this month when the terminal face rose 20 to 40 metres thanks to a rain downpour which lifted millions of tonnes of ice from the water across the entire 600m width of the face. On August 18, a small section of that ice calved resulting in a massive and spectacular iceberg separating from the face. Sometime over the weekend just gone (Aug 21 and 22), the rest of the uplifted ice broke away in the biggest ever calving in the lake’s 35 year history.
Glacier Explorers, which takes passengers on cruises on the Tasman Glacier Terminal Lake, will resume operations on 3 September, one month ahead of schedule due to an early spring melt and to take advantage of the opportunity to see the magnificent new icebergs.
The glacier terminal face with uplifted white ice before calving
The glacier terminal face after calving
Denis Callesen, General Manager Tourism for Aoraki Mount Cook Alpine Village Ltd says the coming season promises visitors the most spectacular iceberg and glacier cruising season yet.
“The scale of what’s happening here is just enormous. The biggest ‘berg is about 300m by 200m and 40m high – and that’s only the 10% of the berg that we can see. 90% is below the waterline.”
Mr Callesen says the Tasman Lake is now full of icebergs with more than 20 that are 50m x 50m above the waterline.
“These ‘bergs now take on a life of their own, flipping, turning and moving as natural forces take action.
Mr Callesen said he and Glacier Explorers staff were “incredibly excited’ about the coming season.
“We are expecting the most spectacular season ever here, with stunning viewing of nature in action. Visitors will be able to get out onto the lake from early September and they will be in for a trip of a lifetime with sensational iceberg viewing. The current calving will give us ice to study for the next two seasons at least.”
Glacier Explorers gives passengers an unforgettable experience in a majestic, high alpine environment. A 75-minute boat trip takes them past constantly moving icebergs, some of which can be touched from the boat.
Iceberg cruising is a ‘must-do’ activity for visitors to Aoraki Mount Cook, not only for the up close and personal iceberg experience but also for spectacular views of surrounding mountains and some of the best photographic opportunities in the national park. Another option for viewing icebergs is the Tasman Valley Tour which guides visitors to a viewing point high on the moraine above the lake for magnificent views of the icebergs.
The season will open with two trips a day increasing to five as the season develops.
For more information visit www.glacierexplorers.com.