South America Drive

Perito Moreno Glacier Calving

November 14, 2013

“We went back to Perito Moreno glacier to watch it calving. The power behind this massive sheet of ice is humbling. Spent the day watching. Should have brought sunscreen. Wish I had a recording of the continuous cracking and booming sounds.”

When we had a sunny day and our legs had recovered from our glacier hike, we decided to return and watch the face of the glacier calving. Huge chunks of ice fall from the face. The glacier loses 5 to 7 feet a day. This glacier is advancing, not retreating as are so many others (95% are retreating, partially due to climate change).

We took the boat across the lower edge. We returned to view the upper right (northeast) edge.

We had taken the boat across the lower edge. We returned to view the upper right (northeast) edge.

The glacier slowly slides forward. It moves 10 times faster in the middle.

DSC05474No bus ride this time, we drove our car. Probably due to talking with other hikers, we had not noticed the beautiful red flowers. It made for a great picture with the glacier in the background.





The foreground shows some of the extensive walkway.

DSC05484Perito Moreno Glacier flows into Lake Argentine. The weight of the ice pushes the glacier across the lake until it runs aground on the opposite side. This blocks one side of the lake from the other. The water rises on the main part of the lake. Eventually the pressure pushes a hole through the glacier,creating a bridge. Eventually, the bridge collapses, taking with it large pieces of glacial ice.

DSC05489This is called “rapture.” It happens every 4 to 5 years. The last time was March 2, 2012. Needless to say, we did not see it rapture, not even a bridge. By all accounts, it is an impressive sight. You can see the flow getting backed up by the glacial dam.






My pictures pan from left to right across the northeast face of the glacier.






DSC05361Perito Moreno glacier is the 2nd most visited site in Argentina after Iguazu Falls. Once again, the government built sturdy wood and metal walkways so hundreds of people could view the glacier each day.

This is the 3rd largest glacier in the world in the 4th largest ice mass.





It was hard to capture calving. The glacier was continually making cracking and booming sounds as it slowly crept forward.





We spent the entire day watching. Sadly, we did not think to put on sunscreen. Our wonderful, sunny day left us with a painful sunburn.





This shot helps you feel how massive this is.







The left side of the glacier is where we walked last week.



We passed our 1 year mark – we had been in South America for over a year . . . and had only seen 2 countries! We could look back and see where we would have stayed longer or shorter. The days continued to fly by . . . I truly never felt bored.

We had spent 154 days in Argentina, far more than we had expected. We were facing the end of another 90 days on our Visa – time to move on. So we crossed into Chile.

At this time we had seriously talked about going to Antarctica. The logistics of driving there, finding someone to care for our dogs, and a safe place to leave all our stuff made us think long and hard. Add to that, it is very expensive. And, you have to be open to delays or leaving on short notice since departure dates vary according to the highly changeable weather and ocean. We decided to leave that adventure for a later date.

I have decided to continue with our Argentine story, thus finishing out our time in Argentina. We re-entered Argentina two more times. The first time was in April of 2014 when we returned to visit Mendoza. We wanted to live in wine country. The second time was a year later in April 2015 on our way back to San Martin (Argentina) to live and ski for 6 months.


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