In a video that went viral Monday, September 12th, a glacier that sits atop a mountain about 656 feet (200 meters) high rumbled and broke off at Queulat National Park, located more than 746 miles (1,200 kilometers) south of Chile’s capital.
Detachments between masses of ice are normal, says University of Santiago climate scientist Raul Cordero, but he noted that the frequency of these events is troubling.
According to Cordero, there was a heat wave with “very abnormal” temperatures in that area of Patagonia before the collapse.
Cordero added that an “atmospheric river” consisting of relatively warm air laden with moisture was also recorded. When this “river meets with Andean and Patagonian topography, it forms large clouds and discharges precipitation.
“One of the consequences of global warming is that it is destabilizing several glaciers and in particular some unstable glacier walls,” said Cordero. “That is the case of what happened in the last few days in Patagonia in a similar way to what happened a couple of months ago in both the Himalayas and the Alps.”