The Perito Moreno Glazier is a stunning glacier formation that can be found in the Los Glaciares National Park southwest of Santa Cruz province, Argentina. The glacier, which forms a part of the Patagonian Continental Ice Field, is one of the most spectacular glacier formations anywhere in the world. It is a very popular destination among tourists visiting the country.
The Perito Moreno Glacier is just one of the 48 glaciers connected to the Southern Patagonian Ice Field positioned in the Andes system which is shared with Argentina’s neighbor, Chile. The ise is the third largest reserve of fresh water in the world, surpassed only by the Antarctica and Greenland. The glacier extends all the way to the Chilean fjords and the Argentine lakes in the east. It is one of the only three glaciers in the Patagonia that are still increasing in size, a phenomenon which many glaciologists still find difficult to explain.
Bounded by forests and snow-capped mountains, the Perito Moreno Glacier is named after explorer Francisco Moreno, who is credited with having investigated the area in the 19th Century. The local hero is also said to have played a key role in protecting the territorial integrity of the country in a border conflict with neighboring Chile.
Rupture of the Perito Moreno Glacier
From time to time, an occurrence described as “rupture” is witnessed in the Perito Moreno Glacier. The glacier is gradually pushed during such an incident over the Brazo Rico (southern arm) of Lago Argentina, or Lake Argentina, as a result of pressure generated by the weight of the ice. This result in damming of water in the arm and the levels in the area can rise up to 30 meters above the levels of the main Lago Argentina body. The pressure from the dammed water soon becomes too much for the ice barrier to hold, leading to a rupture and spectacular sight of dammed water pouring off into the main body of the lake. This event fluctuates in occurrence, ranging widely from once a year to once in 10 years.
The Perito Moreno Glacier as a Tourist Attraction
This glacier is a beautiful sight to behold, whether from the ground or the air, with the stunning forests of nires and lengas as well as snow-capped mountains encircling it. The Perito Moreno is one of the most visited places by tourists in Argentina since the spectacle here is one that not very many people will want to miss if they can afford to go visiting. It is also very easy to gain access to by land or through navigation on the route. It takes less than two hours to reach the glacier by bus from El Calafate, traveling along the Provincial Route No. 15.
Many tour companies organize daily trips to the Perito Moreno Glacier. Visitors can get to within about 350 meters of the ice formation and also walk on ice. Trekking tours on the ice have become increasingly popular among tourists in recent years. These tours are usually provided in two forms. One option, the minitrekking, involves a walk on the ice for around an hour and a half. The second, “big ice” trekking option lasts about five hours. Crampons are supplied to customers by the tour companies.
There is also a big visitor center at the Perito Moreno Glacier. This has a walking circuit from which visitors can catch a view of the eastern and southern sections of the glacier.