Video of the Week: The Emerging Dangers of Glacier Tourism

The landscapes that climate change is impacting the most are emitting an intense gravitational pull on some tourists and outdoors enthusiasts.

Glaciers, whether in the high-mountains or polar regions, are melting. Tropical rainforests are disappearing. Coral reefs are deteriorating. And, wherever those habitats are under threat, some tourists are seeking them out before they become unrecognizable or completely relegated to memory.

And that’s making so-called last-chance tourism a sometimes dangerous endeavor.

Consider Alaska.

On August 1, officials in the city of Valdez reported that they discovered the bodies of three European boaters who appeared to have been killed by debris from melting glaciers.

“[T]he victims were identified by the city as two Germans and an Austrian and were found dead on Tuesday morning in Valdez Glacier Lake, about 120 miles (193 km) east of Anchorage,” according to Reuters.

The area “was littered with floating icebergs, glacial slush, and challenging terrain for recovery,” the news agency reported.

“Those conditions, plus the location of the remains near the toe of Valdez Glacier, suggested that falling glacial ice killed the boaters,” Sheri Pierce, a spokeswoman for the city government, said in a statement.

Now This offers another example in an August 20 video. In it, a glacier face is seen collapsing, drenching nearby kayakers, who are shooting the video. The footage then becomes shaky as the wake from the collapse of the glacier generates waves, forcing the kayakers to make a hasty retreat.

“Oh my God. We’re lucky to be alive,” says one of the kayakers.

Read More on GlacierHub:

The Funeral for Iceland’s OK Glacier Attracts International Attention

Park Officials Remove Signs Warning That Some Glaciers Will Disappear by 2020

Snow Algae Thrives in Some of Earth’s Most Extreme Conditions

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