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Disappearing Chilean Glacier Lake Mystery Solved July 6, 2007
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Photos of a glacier lake in southern Chile's Patagonia region show the disapperance of water between March and late May.
Chilean scientists say they have determined that climate change is the ultimate reason why a lake mysteriously disappeared in the south of the country between March and May.

The drained lake is located in the Magallanes region of Chile’s Patagonia region and is fed by water from melting glaciers.

During a survey by rangers in March, it had a surface area of 10 to 12 acres (4 to 5 hectares). Survey teams were shocked by its disappearance when they visited the site in May and found only chunks of ice lying on an otherwise dry lake bed.

Andres Rivera, a glaciologists with Chile’s Center of Scientific Studies, surveyed the area around the lake to determine what happened to the water.

He discovered that melting glaciers put pressure on an ice wall that acted as a dam to create the lake, causing it to give way.

He believes that water in the lake flowed out of the breach, into a nearby fjord and finally out to sea.

Rivera noted that the lake appears to be filling up again, partially due to the melting of chunks of ice that had been left on the dried up lake bed.

The normal advances and retreats of glaciers in Chile is being disrupted by global warming, according to Rivera.

“This would not be happening (the lake disappearance) if the temperature had not increased,” he added.

Photo: CONAF (Chile’s National Forestry Corporation)