Perito Moreno Glacier is one of the most famous glaciers in the world due to its unique characteristics. This is one of the few glaciers that is growing and advancing each day instead of retreating.
In the following article, you will find 10 interesting facts and curiosities about this massive glacier in El Calafate!
# 1 – IT IS A GROWING GLACIER
Perito Moreno is one of the few glaciers in the world that is growing instead of retreating. It moves forward at an average rate of two meters per day, besides it loses proportional amounts of mass each day. Consequently, this ensures the equilibrium and stability of the glacier.
However, sometimes with its constant advance, it forms a dam with the waters of the Rico’s arm, generating an increase in the level of water. As a consequence, it causes the rupture of the glacier, creating a unique show.
# 2 – FAMOUS RUPTURE
The glacier advances along the lake up until it reaches the opposite shore and it creates a natural dam, avoiding the passage of water from the Brazo Rico.
As a consequence, the water level increases, and then it causes the catastrophic rupture of the glacier creating a natural spectacle. Each time this occurs, thousands of tourists travel from different parts of the world to witness this unique historical process of nature.
This phenomenon does not have a single repetition period of time. It was estimated that it happens every three or four years, although there is no certainty of it.
The first rupture which was recorded was in 1917. And the last major rupture occurred on January 19th, 2013.
# 3 – IT HAS AN IMPOSING SCALE
This glacier has an impressive size. It has an area of 100 square miles, and 3 miles wide. It rises up to 78 meters above the lake Lago Argentino, although the greatest depth measured was approximately 700 meters (2,2297 feet).
Perito Moreno Glacier is bigger than Buenos Aires city. While the glacier size is around 250 km², the capital city size is 203 km².
# 4 – FRESH WATER RESERVE
This glacier is the third largest reserve of fresh water on the planet.
# 5 – ORIGIN OF THE NAME
Perito Moreno Glacier was named in honor of the Argentinian explorer Francisco Moreno in the 19th century. He played an important role in the dispute in Argentina and Chile’s border conflict.
The word “Perito ” came from the Spanish Language, which means “specialist”.
# 6 – IT IS A UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE
In 1981, Los Glaciares National Park was declared by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. The National Park includes many other important glaciers. It also includes Mount Fitz Roy in El Chaltén.
The National Park has had an important conservation since 1937, under the national law of Protected Areas in Argentina.
# 7 – SOUTHERN PATAGONIAN ICE FIELD
Perito Moreno Glacier is in the Southern Patagonian Ice Field. This is the second-largest icefield in the world, extending across the southern Andes. This Ice Field is a remnant of the last Ice Age (18.000 years ago), when all the territory was covered by a thick layer of ice.
The Southern Ice Field is a large area of continental ice which has a total of 49 glaciers that are emerging from this field including Perito Moreno, Upsala, and Viedma in Argentina. This Ice Field is protected by different National Parks, such as Los Glaciares National Park in Argentina, Torres del Paine, and Bernardo O’Higgins in Chile.
# 8 – TOURISM
Los Glaciares National Parks is one of the most visited sites in Patagonia. The main attraction is the Perito Moreno Glacier.
There are different types of excursions you can enjoy, such as the regular visit on the balconies and footbridges where you can get amazing photographs of this stunning landscape, or even take a famous Mini Trekking or Big Ice tour, where you can walk over the glacier accompanied by professional guides and equipment. Or you can take navigation tours to appreciate the glacier and approach it.
# 9 – EASY ACCESS
One of the things that make it become such a tourist attraction is the easy access to it. Unlike other important glaciers in the world where you need to hike to reach them, the Perito Moreno Glacier is right in front of you when you enter the National Park Los Glaciares.
# 10 – TREKKING OVER PERITO MORENO GLACIER
If you are an adventurous person, this is an excursion you should take. There are two options depending on the difficulty. The first option is the Mini Trekking which is of moderate difficulty and has many ascents and descents. A specialist guide will accompany you with the required equipment, and you will experience what it is like to walk on the pure white ice of Perito Moreno Glacier.
The second option is the Big Ice, which is similar to MiniTrekking, although the physical demand of this trekking is higher and takes more time. This activity is designed for trekking fans, explorers, and people in good health conditions.