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Peruvian Town May be Swept Away

A flood caused by a crack in a glacier may destroy the city of Huaraz in Peru. The crack has been spotted by a space satellite in a glacier high in the Peruvian Andes that feeds into Lake Palcacocha, at the top of a valley that leads down to the city. Huaraz has a population of 60,000. NASA says, "Should the large glacier chunk break off and fall into the lake, the ensuing flood could hurtle down?reaching Huaraz and its population of 60,000 in less than 15 minutes," meaning there will be no warning. Glacier expert John Reynolds says, "It's an ongoing manifestation of climate change."

However, geologist Benjamin Morales says it's normal for Andean glaciers to have "thousands of cracks" and says an avalanche wouldn't reach Huaraz that quickly."The information is poorly constructed. The problem is (the report's) repercussions," he says. "No one can repair this now. People are already alarmed." Huaraz is a major tourist destination for climbers and hikers, due to its mountain range.

Ronald Woodman, of the Peruvian Geophysical Institute, says NASA "wanted to publicize the important work they are doing, but there is no imminent threat."

Are they downplaying the information and putting thousands of people at risk so as not to harm the tourist industry? There are many reasons to downplay global warming, but many more reasons to pay attention to the evidence all around us.

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