Perito Moreno Glacier, Patagonia, Argentina
When people say that something moves a ‘glacial speed’, I’ve never really known what to imagine. Obviously it means something is moving slowly, but how slowly?
The expression conjures up images of cold and unrelenting progress that, although gradual, is inevitable and unstoppable.
When people talk about this kind of speed, it’s normally in the negative – a criticism of something that is taking too long or is painfully slow. I can now tell you from firsthand experience that there is nothing painful about a glacier.
It is one of the most beautiful sights you could see in Patagonia.
Argentina’s Los Glaciares National Park has almost fifty glaciers within its boundaries but there is one that really is the icing on the cake (so to speak). The Perito Moreno Glacier near El Calafate is the largest of them all and by far the most impressive to see up close.
The face of the glacier stretches across for more than five kilometres. From the front, where tourists get the best view, all the way to the back of the ice is more then thirty kilometres. To give you a sense of the scale, the Perito Moreno Glacier is three times the size of Manhattan!
Ready for a collapse
It’s also quite noisy. That seems strange, because you expect the huge mass of solid ice to be quite peaceful, but there are a lot of unseen forces at work here.
There is enormous pressure within the glacier and, as we all know, pressure eventually needs a release. A constant cracking and crashing of ice occurs at the front of the glacier as chunks fall off into the lake.
Crack – the sound echoes across the lake and bounces off the nearby mountains. The splash into the water is just as loud and the sound seems to carry for kilometres. The silence of everything else only accentuates the moment.
The Perito Moreno Glacier is one of the most popular tourist stops in southern Patagonia.
Busloads of people come in and out of the site every day and it’s one of the main reasons travellers bother to stop in the nearby town of El Calafate (although it is actually quite a nice place in its own right).
In fact, the whole region seems to be going through a tourist boom at the moment and visitor numbers are definitely on the rise – and not at a glacial speed!
22 thoughts on “An ice age”
Cool photos, Michael! I’m really enjoying the sights and stories you’re sharing from your journey!
Thanks Bret. This will be the end of Patagonia (for now), though. I can’t wait to get back there sometime soon…
Looks like you had a spectacular day at Perito. Lovely shots. One of my favorite places in Argentina!
It was stunning there. The photos will never do it justice, though!
Absolutely awe-inspiring! I keep begging my husband to take me here 🙁
Ha ha… hopefully you’ll have some luck soon. You won’t regret it!
Gorgeous pictures, staring at those views must be overwhelming.
Awe-inspiring is a great way to put it. It’s a place that really takes your breath away.
Gorgeous photos! I definitely imagined it to be peaceful, but the explanation of the noisiness seems a lot more logical.
The noise is a bit unexpected but it definitely adds to the whole experience!
Incredible. Being there must give you a new perspective on the forces of nature. So amazing!
It’s strange to see something so solid that clearly has a lot going on inside!
That was a real Ice Age. I can’t imagine how freezing in The Perito Moreno Glacier. But I wanna visit the place.
It’s pretty cold down in Patagonia – full stop. But, yeah, the glacier would be pretty freezing!
Really like the second shot. Wish I had thought to get that angle 🙂
I don’t believe for a second that there’s something you haven’t done in Argentina! 🙂
What a stunning landscape – it looks almost alien! And that’s surprising about it being so noisy because you’re right, it looks incredibly still and tranquil. Definitely putting this on my bucket list!
The noise was a surprise, even though I had been told about it beforehand It’s a great addition to your bucket list!! 🙂
Intrigued by what you said when you said it was noisy. There’s something crystal like about ice, but you’re right – I expected it to be pretty quiet and serene.
Do you have video of this? I’m interested in hearing what these glaciers sound like.
I don’t have a video, but I’m sure there are some floating out there on the net. The sounds comes just occasionally but it’s really loud when it happens!
Thanks to you I’ll be checking this place out in a couple of weeks. A weekend excursion.
Oh, fantastic. You’ll love the glacier. In fact, all of Patagonia is so beautiful – I hope you get a bit of a chance to see some of it.