Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Peru: Melting glacier falls into lake

Glacier breaks in Peru, causing Andes tsunami
MSNBC: A huge glacier broke off and plunged into a lake in Peru, causing a 75-foot tsunami wave that swept away at least three people and destroyed a water processing plant serving 60,000 residents... The ice block tumbled into a lake in the Andes... near the town of Carhuaz, some 200 miles north of the capital, Lima... Investigators said the chunk of ice from the Hualcan glacier measured 1,640 feet by 656 feet [500 metres by 200 metres].

'This slide into the lake generated a tsunami wave, which breached the lake's levees, which are 23 metres high -- meaning the wave was 23 metres high,' said Patricio Vaderrama, an expert on glaciers at Peru's Institute of Mine Engineers. Authorities evacuated mountain valleys, fearing more breakages.

It was one of the most concrete signs yet that glaciers are disappearing in Peru, home to 70 percent of the world's tropical icefields. Scientists say warmer temperatures will cause them to melt away altogether within 20 years.