New Zealand Earthquake Spurs Giant Glacier Collapse

Christchurch temblor likely gave weakened glacier "last kick," expert says.

A huge vertical slab calved off the front of the Tasman Glacier (see map) into Tasman Lake after the 6.3-magnitude quake had hit Tuesday afternoon. The temblor was centered about 125 miles (200 kilometers) away, near Christchurch (see map). (See pictures of the New Zealand earthquake's aftermath.)

The chunk is estimated to have been three-fourths of a mile (1,200 meters) long by 250 feet (75 meters) wide, scientists say.

The iceberg's collapse also kicked up 10-foot (3.5-meter) waves in Tasman Lake.

"We heard a large crack like a high-powered rifle," a U.S. tourist who had been on a glacier tour at the time told the

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