The Slims river before it disappeared. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 Hendrik Schafer
Last year the Slims river totally vanished in what is thought to be a modern case of 'river piracy'.
In a mere four days, what was once a raging torrent became little more than a dried-up riverbed - a stark and devastating reminder of how global warming can shape the world's geography.
For centuries, the Slims river had carried meltwater northwards from the vast Kaskawulsh glacier to the Kluane river where it eventually ended up being carried towards the Bering Sea.
Last Spring however, the glacier melted to such an extent that the course of the drainage water was diverted along a new path, cutting off the Slims and depriving it of its source of water.
While "river piracy" is thought to have occurred in the distant past, this is the first time that anything like this has ever been documented happening in modern times.
"People had looked at the geological record, thousands or millions of years ago, not the 21st century, where it's happening under our noses," said geoscientist Dan Shugar.
"Nobody to our knowledge has documented it happening in our lifetimes."
Source: The Guardian | Comments (11)
River, Glacier, Canada