A major ice-calving event at Tasman Glacier terminus, Southern Alps, 22 February 2011

Terminus calving of icebergs is a common mass-loss mechanism from water-terminating glaciers globally, including the lake-calving glaciers in New Zealand’s central Southern Alps. Calving rates can increase dramatically in response to increases in ice velocity and/or retreat of the glacier margin. Here, we describe a large calving event (c. 4.5 × 106 m3) observed at Tasman Glacier, which initiated around 30 min after the MW 6.2 Christchurch earthquake of 22 February 2011. The volume of this calving event was equalled or exceeded only once in a subsequent 13-month-long study. While the temporal association with the earthquake remains intriguing, the effects of any preconditioning factors remain unclear.

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