• Carolyn

Perito Moreno glacier

My last post, 'Perito Moreno's escape,' prompted lots of questions about the glacier itself, so here is a quick description.

The Perito Moreno glacier is one of the most impressive sights in all of Argentine Patagonia. It's easily observed from close range. In fact, it is so impressive when viewed from lookouts on land, that you don't need to jump into a boat and sail up even closer, or to trek across the top with crampons - even though you can do both of those things (in normal non-pandemic times).

I've visited the glacier twice, and was as much in awe the second time as the first. It's absolutely breathtaking.

Have you noticed that when a news-reader on TV talks of climate change, there is often a video of a huge glacier behind them, and massive slabs of blue ice are sliding down, into the water below, generating huge waves? You guessed it, ninety per cent of the time, that video is of Perito Moreno glacier.

The glacier is located in Los Glaciares National Park in Santa Cruz province. It's fed by the Southern Patagonian Ice Field, which is the world's third largest reserve of fresh water behind Antarctica and Greenland. What's unusual about this glacier is that it is not retreating with climate change. For reasons best known - or not known - to glaciologists, the glacier grows as quickly as it melts.

One of the most interesting aspects of the glacier is the rupture of the ice every few years. Because the glacier completely blocks a fjord, the water on the upstream side rises gradually - as much as thirty metres, pressing on the glacier to such an extent that eventually the ice 'blockage' is broken, causing a spectacular explosion of ice and water, and levelling out the fjord on either side. Then the glacier, ever moving forward, stops up the fjord again.

There's a reason why trip advisor shows a ranking of five out of five with over 6,500 reviews.

In one word - incredible.

And if you'd like to know more about Patagonia, read my book, An Argentine in my Kitchen.


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