Monday, February 20, 2012

Perito Moreno Glacier in Las Glaciares National Park, AR

Using satellite photos, Marco, our local guide, points to where we are in South America

He now points to where Moreno Glacier flows into Lake Argentino, the large blue lake to the right of his finger. We will be driving to the glacier's visitor center where his finger is pointing.

Another satellite photo showing plume of erupting volcano. The prevailing winds blow from west to east so Argentina receives the brunt of the ash fall.

Photo showing source of ash plume which is on the northwest side of the volcano. Note volcano crater below the plume source.

Perito Moreno Glacier covers an area of 62,000 acres with a length of 19 miles. Moreno Glacier is one of 48 glaciers located in the Andes system. This ice field is the world's 3rd largest reserve of fresh water.

A new system of walkways takes you down the mountain for views of the glacier

The front wall of the glacier is 3 miles wide with an average height of 180' above the surface of the water. The total ice depth is approximately 556'. It advances at a speed of up to 6 ' per day (around a half-mile per year).

The good news . . . Moreno Glacier is one of only three Patagonian glaciers that are not retreating

Walkways takes you near the base of the glacier

Periodically, the glacier advances closing this gap (where the ice meets the land in this photo) forming a natural dam between the two halves of Lake Argentino. With no escape route, the water level on Lake Brazo Rico (the lake in this photo) can rise 90 feet above the main lake.

The enormous pressure produced by this mass of water finally breaks the ice barrier holding it back, in a spectacular rupture event. This dam/rupture cycle occurs periodically between once a year to once per decade. The last rupture occurred in 2008.

Group photo - Note our winter gear. It is darn cold here!

View of ice flow into Lake Argentino, the main lake

Click on "older posts" below to continue tour

~~Next - Scenes of El Calafate AR~~

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