The Grey Glacier is pictured in Southern Patagonia, Chile. This video shows the moment an iceberg breaks off the Grey Glacier and plummets into the frigid waters below, revealing a previously hidden view of the iceberg. (Licet Studios via YouTube )
Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes
SOUTHERN PATAGONIA — Have you ever seen a glacier collapse and fall into a body of water?
The term for this is called “calving” (no relation to cows and their young) and it’s quite a thing to witness.
Last summer, I got the chance to visit my friend in Alaska, where he lives and works as an outdoor excursion guide. He took two of my other friends and me on a glacier hike, where we repelled down cliffs and used an ice axe and crampons to explore ice caves in the glacier.
Luckily, we didn’t experience any glacier calving when we were exploring the glacier, but it would’ve been an amazing sight to see from afar.
This video — taken of Grey Glacier in the Southern Patagonian Ice Field in Chile — gives viewers a taste of what it’s like to experience glacier calving.
Besides Antarctica, the Southern Patagonian Ice Field is the largest contiguous ice field in the Southern Hemisphere.
The Grey Glacier is well known for collapses during the summer when large icebergs — often up to 100 feet in height — break off from the glacier and collapse into the surrounding water of the Lago Grey.
The ice falling into the water often causes large, sometimes even hazardous waves. No one was injured in this video, as people and boats kept a safe distance.
Perhaps the most beautiful part of the calving is after the iceberg has broken off and the surprisingly expansive and previously submerged portion of the iceberg surfaces and shows off its deep blue hue.
Despite the surreal beauty and power on display when watching the glacial calving, it is a sign of a changing world.
As climate change increases temperatures, ice sheets like the one the Grey Glacier are found in are on the decline due to increasing temperatures and changes in rainfall.