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Major calving event at Jökulsárlón: Giant iceberg creates "iceberg-tsunami"

By Staff

  • Jökulsárlón The countless icebergs can be seen as white dots. The calving event is visible at the glacier's edge. Photo/ESA and University of Iceland 

  • The Iceberg tsunami The Volcanology and Natural Hazard Group at the University of Iceland added the yelllow line to indicate the retreat of the glacier edge since March, and the green lines to show the tsunami wave created by the calving event. Photo/ESA-University of Iceland 

  • Detail The wave created by the iceberg flipping over is clearly visible. Photo/ESA-University of Iceland

Visitors to Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon are in for a treat. A major calving event took place at Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon over the weekend, causing a "iceberg-tsunami" in the lagoon.

Read more: See how Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon has been transformed as the glacier recedes

The above photos are taken by the SENTINEL-2 Earth observation mission of the European Space Agency shows how the edge of Breiðamerkurjökull outlet glacier, which empties into Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon, has retreated in recent weeks. The glacier expands in winter, and retreats in spring and summer. The green line shows how the glacier has retreated since March 9. The edge has retreated as much as 150 m (490 ft).

What makes the photo particularly interesting is that it was taken shortly after a major calving event. An iceberg which had broken off the glacier is in the process of flipping over when the photo was taken. As the iceberg flips over it creates a small "iceberg-tsunami" in the lagoon: You can see the wave spreading to the south very clearly in the photo.

Read more: Travellers in danger on Jökulsárlón: Police urges people not to venture onto unsafe ice

The iceberg which created the calving event should float leisurely toward the ocean, slowly melting and breaking apart over the next few days or weeks. 

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