Video of a massive ice serac collapsing in the Engadin, Switzerland.
Yesterday afternoon at 1:45 p.m., a large, spectacular ice collapse occurred on the Tschierva glacier in the Engadin. I was filming the remainder of a smaller rupture when a large chunk of the side hanging glacier broke off and slid down the slope in a huge dust avalanche.
The term “serac” typically refers to a specific feature found in glaciers or icefalls. It is a block or column of ice that forms as a result of the fracturing and movement of glacial ice. Seracs are often characterized by their steep and jagged appearance, resembling large towers or pillars of ice.
Seracs are commonly found in areas where glaciers flow over steep or irregular terrain, such as in icefalls or areas of crevassed ice. They can be particularly unstable and pose significant hazards to climbers and mountaineers due to their tendency to collapse or fall unexpectedly. The collapse of a serac can result in ice and debris avalanches, which can be extremely dangerous.
The term “serac” can also be used metaphorically to describe any unstable or precarious situation or structure that is prone to sudden collapse or failure. This usage is often employed in fields such as geology, engineering, or finance to describe systems or structures that are at risk of destabilization.