El Calafate Glacier Wonder: The Arc of the Brown Puppy

A giant field of glaciers is located in Patagonia, southern Argentina and Chile. It is a land of freezing natural wonders. In winters, it can go down to minus forty degrees Celsius. Even people who visit in summers bring back photos of themselves in coats in front of glaciers. When you ask locals who were born in much warmer areas how they adjusted, they tell you that one winter you get sick, then your body gets used to the weather. Even at minus forty degrees, people don’t stay inside.

El Calafate is a small town, some call it a village, at the foothills of mountains and the biggest lake in Argentina, Lago Argentino. The town is considered the getaway to Glaciers National Park, home to hundreds of glaciers, most of them inaccessible for regular travelers. Most travelers focus on one glacier, Perito Moreno. In English, it means Brown Puppy, the nickname of Francisco Pascasio Moreno, one of the most important explorers of Patagonia.

Perito Moreno the glacier, like many other glaciers in the world, loses its ice all the time due to global warming. Travelers are ecstatic seeing pieces of the glacier collapse. It happens all the time, abruptly. A massive sound is heard throughout the viewing areas of the park as a piece of ice detaches from the glacier and clashes into the green ice lake, creating a splash. The spot left uncovered on the ice catches the eye: it is colored blue unseen elsewhere in nature.

Unlike most glaciers, Perito Moreno builds itself back up, growing, maintaining equilibrium of size. On one of its fronts, an arc is created through time. When the arc becomes too massive, too expansive for the glacier to carry, the pressure of ice leads the arc to collapse in a process that may take several days.

There is no way to foresee this wonder, which happened sixteen times during the twentieth century. Therefore, visitors to the park between February 29 and March 4, 2012 must have felt especially fortunate:

Though the last part of the fracture happened in nighttime, when cameras were unable to capture it, it must have been a unique, once-in-a-lifetime experience to witness.

 

A big thank to Iris for referring me to this video. If you are a Hebrew reader, you will love her blog about a dream trip from the middle of the world (Ecuador and the Galapagos) to its end (Ushuaia, Argentina).

If you’re feeling inspired, click here to read 12 reasons to love our Earth and how you can practice showing that lovin’.

 

 

Have you ever seen a world wonder?

 

2 Comments

  1. What gorgeous photos! I’ve never seen anything like this. We get tons of snow at home in Connecticut, but somehow it isn’t quite the same 🙂 I would honestly like to go to Patagonia. The nature must be out of this world!
    Sabina recently posted..On The Road to DahabMy Profile

    • Patagonia nature is definitely out of this world, and the people there are fantastic too. So incredibly recommended 🙂

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