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Published: February 28th 2014
Day 10 I know we have some pretty special days coming up but today was quite incredible. Woke up to clear blue skies & just a zephyr of a breeze. Top temp forecast to be 15 but feels much warmer. No need for all those layers of clothes we have with us.
Full day involved 1 hr drive each way to Los Glaciares National Park & specifically the Perito Moreno Glacier with 4 hrs exploring the glacier from every angle. Understanding a little of the geology and dynamics of the glacier makes it even more amazing. This glacier is unique amongst other glaciers in that rather than being formed by frozen water it's formed by daily constant snow falling on the higher peaks putting pressure on the snow below until it is unable to be compressed any further & forms glacial ice. As this ice builds the slope of the mtn is unable to hold on and keeps pushing forward. The middle of the glacier moves 2 mts per day & 45cm on the sides. As such this is the only glacier in the world that is not shrinking.
A key choke point occurs between the side of the
glacier and the land where there is a continual process of ice building & collapsing. Lake Argentino is naturally higher than the choke point so strangely flows towards the glacier. If the ice has joined the land a dam forms & the lake can rise an incredible 30 mtrs but all the time water being water tries to find an escape route and flows under the glacier forming an ever expanding tunnel then an ice bridge forms above the water level, until such time the bridge becomes too weak and collapses. This occurs approximately every decade and according to our guide has only been captured once on film as other instances have occurred at night or the middle of winter.
Anyway enough of the lessons. A flat battery after endless photos cannot do justice to the real thing. We spent several hours wandering many paths with different vantage points of the glacier. All the while hearing pop gun reverberations with small ice falls with larger falls sounding like explosions sending ripples across the lake. We witnessed several of these spectacular falls however the best was yet to come later in the afternoon. We took a boat trip to move
closer to the reverse (Southern) side of the glacier & apart from the pristine jagged shapes of an endless wall of ice with an illusionary aqua marine blue effect, a massive wall of ice broke away in front of us. The noise was amazing and the ripple effect in this case was huge and our boat was bobbing around, what an experience! Some large icebergs are still floating in the lake and must have been spectacular when they broke away!
What is even more amazing is the size of the Perito Moreno Glacier (2 km wide at the face, 60 mtrs high above water & 100 mtrs below.). Itis supposed to be 10 times the size of Buenos Aries and yet represents just a tiny speck on the glacial map of the whole area!
Tot: 1.413s; Tpl: 0.042s; cc: 6; qc: 45; dbt: 0.0271s; 1; m:saturn w:www (18.104.22.168); sld: 2;
; mem: 1.3mb