Perito Moreno–the calving glacier

We spend 7 hours watching/admiring the Perito Moreno glacier – it takes time to get good pictures

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This is how it looked like, when we were watching the glacier – To the right Esbens view wlEmoticon-winkingsmile Perito Moreno–the calving glacier

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The Perito Moreno Glacier is located in the Los Glaciares National Park just 78 km (48 miles) from El Calafate. The glacier is 250 km2 (97 sq-miles), and measures 30 km (19 miles) in length, is one of 48 glaciers fed by the Southern Patagonian Ice Field located in the Andes Mountain system. So the front of the glacier is huge! Check out the two pictures below, in the left picture you see birds in front of the glacier wall and in the right picture you can see a tour boat, if you can find it. The tour boats are quite big, and we would guess that they have room for at least a 100 passengers.

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This picture shows almost the center of the glacier wall, in the left side of the picture you can see how the glacier has reached the peninsula

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This picture shows the left side of the glacier (to the left of the peninsula)

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This picture shows the right side of the glacier (to the right of the peninsula)

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The glacier have been observed since 1899. In 1903 the front of the glacier was 750 meter from the peninsula de Magallanes, and during the next 11 years the glacier was growing in size, now only 100 meters from the peninsula, and in 1917 the glacier reaches the peninsula closing off Brazo Rico (the southern arm of Lake Argentina) from the rest of Lake Argentina. Perito Moreno is advancing or at least maintaining its size, while most glaciers worldwide are retreating.

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With no outlet, the water level on the “Brazo Rico” side of the lake can rise by as much as 30 meters above the level of the main body of Argentino Lake. Intermittently, the pressure produced by the height of the dammed water breaks through the ice barrier causing a spectacular rupture, sending a massive outpouring of water from the Brazo Rico section to the main body of Lake Argentino. As the water exits Brazo Rico, the scored shoreline is exposed, showing evidence of the height of the water build-up (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perito_Moreno_Glacier). This dam–ice-bridge–rupture cycle recurs naturally between once a year to less than once a decade, with the most recent event on the 11th of March 2018. So when we visited the glacier (16th and 17th February 2018) the ice-bridge had just started to form, and the difference between the Brazo Rico and Lake Argentina was 12 meters. The glacier has reached the peninsula and closed off Brazo Rico and the melting ice continues to drain out into Brazo Rico raising the water level in the lake. The highest water level recorded was 22 meters above normal water level.

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The Southern Patagonian Ice Field is located at the Southern Patagonian Andes between Chile and Argentina, and is the world’s second largest contiguous ice field with an area of 16,800 km2 in comparison Denmark’s area is 43,000 km2. Unfortunately the ice field is retreating in general. The largest glacier fed by the Southern Patagonian Ice field is the Pio XI glacier (also called the Bruggen Glacier) with an area of 1,265 km2 (which makes it the biggest and longest glacier in the southern hemisphere outside Antarctica)in comparison the Viedma glacier, that we say during the Huemul Circuit is 978 km2. Want to see the Viedma glacier, check out the post “4 days on the Huemul Trail”. In comparison the Perito Moreno Glacier is a lot smaller (250 km2), but when you get so close to the front of the glacier, it is the size of the glacier wall that matters, and the glacier wall of Perito Moreno is just enormous.

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The glacier is very active, and the chance of seeing ice falling of the glacier wall is huge. Bring your patience, hot tee and food. Also we were really lucky with the weather, with almost no wind. Also the change in weather from cloudy to sunny to rain seems to make the glacier more active (from our point of view). We saw a lot of ice falling from the glacier wall! 

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We were on our way out of the National Park (it closes at 6 pm), when this happened! Remember that the glacier wall is about 60 meters tall, so the piece that broke off was huge. Notice the huge wave created by the falling ice.


To get the full glacier experience we went on a mini-trekking tour on the glacier

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Before going on the glacier everybody in the group had to get crampons mounted on their boots or shoes

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READY – SET – GO

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Trekking across the glacier

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Exploring the different kinds of ice formations

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Close up photos wlEmoticon-camera Perito Moreno–the calving glacier

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This ice field is the world’s third largest reserve of fresh water. So we took a sip of fresh glacier water during the mini-trek on the ice

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No glacier trekking without whiskey on the rocks

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Cheers guys and gals – thank you for reading and following our adventure

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