A nameless lake in the Northwest Territories in Canada has, as predicted by geologists, partly fallen off a cliff, as reported by the National Post.
A section of ground ice that’s been present since the last ice age gave way to the increasingly warming local temperatures, sending half of the lake’s volume, about 30,000 cubic meters (just over one million cubic feet) of water, surging forth as a five-story-high waterfall. This is equivalent to 12 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
As the time-lapse produced by the Northwest Territories Geological Survey (NTGS) shows, the clifftop suddenly slumped, producing a two-hour-long waterfall that essentially moved half of the lake downstream. Luckily, the nearby community of Fort McPherson was left unscathed.
The permafrost ice had held in the water for tens of thousands of years, but over time, wind, rain, and warmer temperatures eroded and melted the ice gradually until the walls gave way in July of this year. Officials say that the remaining half of the lake may be reunited with its more intrepid, mobile half in the near future if erosion continues to occur.
Although these collapses, called “thaw slumps,” are common in the Arctic, they are becoming more abundant and more severe than they were in the historical past due to consistently rising ground and air temperatures, according to the NTGS.