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A chunk of the Perito Moreno Glacier breaks off and flips

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A massive chunk of glacial ice breaks off—calves—from Perito Moreno Glacier in this 2.5 minute video shared by Licet Studios. A popular tourist destination, the freshwater glacier’s terminal wall can collapse into Lago Argentino during the Argentine summer.

From far away, the action can look like slow motion, but it’s helpful to understand Perito Moreno Glacier’s size…

Located in Argentina’s Los Glaciares National Park, Perito Moreno Glacier stretches 5 kilometers (3 miles) or almost 53 football fields across Lago Argentino. Its height at its terminus is reportedly around 70 meters (250 feet high); imagine 17 of England’s double-decker buses stacked on top of each other.

perito moreno glacier as it starts to calve
More from the video’s caption:

“Glacier calving, also known as ice calving, or iceberg calving, is the breaking of ice chunks from the edge of a glacier. The sudden release and breaking away of a mass of ice from a glacier or iceberg often causes large waves around the area and can result in a ‘shooter’ which is a large chunk of the submerged portion of the iceberg surfacing above the water. The ice that breaks away can be classified as an iceberg, but may also be a growler, bergy bit, or a crevasse wall breakaway. The entry of the ice into the water causes large, and often hazardous waves.”

No one was hurt by this event; summer tour boats stay clear of the glacier’s wall for this reason.

glacier rising up from below
Why are glaciers so blue? The Alaska Satellite Facility explains that “an iceberg’s color can tell us a lot about what it’s made of or where it came from…”

• White icebergs have lots of bubbles inside
• Blue icebergs are very dense
• Greenish-black icebergs may have calved off the bottom of a glacier
• Darkly-striped icebergs carry moraine debris from the glacier

Watch this next: Go inside an ice cave to see nature’s most beautiful blue.

Then watch more videos about glaciers, including:
• The Arrow of Time
Ice calving, Holgate Glacier at Kenai Fjords, Alaska
How Do Glaciers Move?

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