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Dramatic glacier collapse in New Zealand caught on video [video]

When a tree falls in the forest, and there’s no one around to hear it, it may or may not make a noise, but the sound of a glacier this massive would be hard to miss whether you were in the immediate vicinity or not.

Ryan Taylor was in Mt Cook National Park in New Zealand when he caught this huge glacier going down and filling the valley with a river of snow and debris.

I also captured a series of ice the size of several buildings falling off the Hochstetter Ice Fall below Mt Cook (highest peak in NZ). Similar events are naturally occurring several times a day (at 13 seconds in the video you can see a similar, smaller collapse in the background of the video) but it is evident climate change is causing glaciers to recede at an unprecedented rate.

Full story at YouTube via Presurfer.

Climate change in action.

Graphics credit: Canva

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  • rytwinger

    Late summer in NZ…

  • That is what I hoped to see when there in 2012. It never happened!

  • JW

    This is not a glacier collapse, this is the side of a mountain collapsing and taking some of the ice with it!

  • Looks like a rock slide to me. I wonder if the slide could be called the glacier collapsing or the mountain side collapsing because it is an unsuitable slope of broken rock?

  • Mark

    Its late summer in NZ, ice normally melts and the cause of the ice falling apart, but this was because the rocks on the mountain gave away. In about three months that place will be covered in snow while ours here will have mostly melted. A really big non event… But interesting to watch Nature do it’s stuff… Pretty soon we will hear about massive ice breaking off the South Pole, yeah, it is late summer…. and it will freeze back when we are in full summer.

    But another “SKY IS FALLING” video…..

  • All the dark rock/dirt must have caused a lot of the water that was trapped that came down with it all. The water probably caused the fall to happen a lot quicker. Amazing video. Makes ya wonder how many other areas have this rock/dirt mixture with the snow at the edge of glaciers that will certainly fall quicker than without.

  • Gravity is still working!

  • Tom

    It looked more like a rock slide with snow on top of it. This has happen been going on since the being of our time. How do you explain the discovery of buried items we keep discovering.

  • noname

    Its called a landslide and happens often. Dramatic not so much… But cool to watch.

  • Erica

    Its called Erosion

  • Diana

    SAD… very sad…

  • james

    i love how they say climate change.. and so many people that live there tell everyone how it really is.. its just mother nature working

  • Dan

    The writer states that similar events happen several times a day. Why is this one called “evident that it is caused by climate change”?

  • Looks like a debris flow. Melting water at the glacier’s bottom reduces friction between the rock particles and gravity moves the material downslope. You only see rock material in the center of a glacier if two glaciers meet.

  • This is not a Glacier collapse. That only happens at the leading edge. What you are looking at is the collapse of a rock shelf. This is totally normal during summer. It is the hottest time of year in New Zealand where this video takes place. It’s exactly the same process that creates a tallus slope along canyon walls and what allows mountains to become a roughly pyramid shape. Most of what you see falling down the mountain is rock and dirt.