Large ice­berg breaks off from Grey glacier in south­ern Chile

The Guardian Australia - - World News - Guardian staff and agen­cies

A large ice­berg broke off the Grey glacier in south­ern Chile, au­thor­i­ties said on Tues­day, adding that the cause of the rup­ture was un­clear.

Chile’s Conaf forestry ser­vice shared pho­tos on so­cial me­dia of the enor­mous block of blue-white ice, which mea­sured 350m (1,148ft) long by 380m (1,247ft) wide, as it floated free in waters of a glacial la­goon near the south­ern tip of the South Amer­i­can con­ti­nent.

Park of­fi­cials at Chile’s Tor­res del Paine Na­tional Park, home to the glacier, said such rup­tures were rare and had not oc­curred since the early 1990s.

Dr Ri­cardo Jaña, glaciol­o­gist from the Chilean Antarc­tic In­sti­tute, said the ice­berg was big­ger than ex­pected.

“This is a sit­u­a­tion we had an­tic­i­pated, but the most sin­gu­lar and anec­do­tal thing is that it is an ice­berg of much larger di­men­sions, which is notable.”

Tor­res del Paine is one of Chile’s most pop­u­lar tourist at­trac­tions, fa­mous for its moun­tain views and vis­ited by more than 115,000 tourists an­nu­ally, ac­cord­ing to Conaf.

Grey glacier is lo­cated in the South­ern Patag­o­nian ice field, just west of the Cordillera del Paine. Be­fore di­vid­ing in two at its front end, the glacier is 6km wide and more than 30m high.

Reuters con­trib­uted to this re­port

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