There is a Maori legend used to explain the beautiful geological anomaly of Ka Roimata o Hinehukatere (‘The tears of Hinehukatere’). We know this place as Franz Josef Glacier on the West Coast of New Zealand’s South Island.

The story is that of a young woman, Hinehukatere who had a passion for climbing mountains, and like most people with a passion, wanted to share it with her lover, Wawe. An inexperienced climber, Wawe was caught in an avalanche, and fell from the peak to his death, leaving Hinehukatere alone, her streams of tears eventually forming the glacier.

The truth of the matter, that the phenomenally fast moving glacier, whose seemingly cyclical ebb and flow has fascinated scientists for years, is the result of the planet’s complex and shifting climate is, perhaps, less poetic, but no less wondrous.

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