Argentina may be the second biggest country in South America, by area and population, but the World Heritage-listed Parque National Los Glaciares in Patagonia is one of the continent’s most dramatic landscapes. The spectacular region is overwhelming, as Emma Mitterhuemer discovered…
“When people say “moving at a glacial pace”, I will now think of something moving with such incredible, brutal force that it takes with it everything in its path! The Perito Moreno glacier is one of the world’s only advancing glaciers and fills the space between two peaks much like a giant frozen river spilling out into a valley. The glacier is well balanced, advancing around 1.5 metres each day and simultaneously shedding the same amount of ice into South America’s third largest body of fresh water, Lake Argentina.
You would think that the glacier had been put there by an enterprising tour company, as it is so perfectly positioned for viewing from the shore of the lake. It is imposing to look at, with the face of the glacier rising as high as a 20 story building. And that is only the part you can see. The ice continues down around 150 metres to the floor of the lake. Most days you can hear it creaking and cracking as it slowly slides down into the valley, with the occasional chunk of ice tumbling from its precipitous front into the water below.
It is difficult to comprehend any sort of scale on something so large, but I can only guess that the size of the pieces of ice which regularly break off and seem to be big ice cubes, are in fact the size of a small car. The compacted ice appears blue to the eye, with the effect exaggerated in areas of higher pressure.
There are some spectacular lookout points on the new raised walkway which has been installed around the glacier and you can even take a boat out into the lake to get some incredible photographs, which I would highly recommend. The crystal clear skies we have had in the past 2 days are hopefully an omen of things to come, as this magnificent glacier is the first stop on our Patagonia Wilderness trip, which promises to bring even more spectacular scenery and adventure!”
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* photo by John Lyons – Intrepid Photography Competition
PS. Which South American country is bigger than Argentina? It’s Brazil!