Saturday, February 27, 2010

Perito Moreno Glacier - El Calafate, Argentina

Exhausted from five days of hiking but feeling fresher than ever after hot showers and sleeping in a comfy bed we woke up early the next day and left for the Perito Moreno Glacier. Its located 7 hours north of Torres Del Paine in El Calafate, Argentina. I was a little afraid that we were going to be disappointed after already seeing a big glacier in Torres Del Paine, but this one is a little more exciting.

Its one of the only constantly advancing glaciers in the world. It advances or grows by two meters a day! Most other glaciers are doing the exact opposite and retreating due to global warming. Our guide informed us that in the past visitors had to be lucky to witness a big chunk of the glacier falling into the water to create an iceberg. But now because of global warming it happens about every twenty minutes! Yet the iceberg remains stable.

The first picture I took of the iceberg made me laugh when I took it. I call this the "First and Worst" pic. It happens quite frequently. You are approaching something amazing and you see it for the first time. You immediately grab your camera and take a pic. You then realize you are really far away from whatever it is and start walking closer to get a better view (and most likely a better pic).

Ahh, there it is. A closer view and better pic.

I busted out the zoom lens it get a closer look at the nooks and crannies of the glacier.

On the left side of the picture is land and the big glacier is on the right. As I mentioned this glacier advances two meters a day. It eventually reaches land at this point and creates a dam. The water level raises and the pressure builds and builds until finally it breaks through. This happens about every two years and produces a ridiculous explosion of water. Unfortunately we weren't there at this time but I've included a link to a youtube video of it for you to see because its really amazing.

Fast forward to the 2:13 mark to see the massive chunk of ice fall in 2003.

Below is the only little chunk I managed to capture on film. Not quite as impressive!

We were really happy we made the effort to come and see the glacier. Its much more active than the one at Torres Del Paine and we were able to get much closer to it.

We hiked a bit further up the hill and were able to see the top of the ice field better. It extends as far as you can see and up the mountain.

If you're not bored of looking at the glacier yet, check out the pic below. Notice the bright blue tips of the glacier right at its edge? The are the brightest blue color! It caused by snow accumulating and being compressed layer after layer by subsequent snowfalls before it becomes blue ice.

We were at the glacier for about three hours. Our next stop is to head further north to El Chalten were the Fitz Roy Mountain range is! Our time in South America is coming to an end soon!

1 comment:

  1. veeeeery coool...hehe excuse the pun ;) heheh :)