The Perito Moreno Glacier is renowned worldwide for its remarkable features. What sets it apart from other glaciers is its exceptional nature—unlike many glaciers that are receding, Perito Moreno Glacier is growing and advancing each day.
In this article, we will delve into 10 captivating facts and curiosities about this immense glacier located in El Calafate. Get ready to discover the wonders and secrets of Perito Moreno Glacier.
1st Fact: IS A GROWING GLACIER
Perito Moreno Glacier stands out as one of the rare glaciers in the world that defies the norm of retreating. Instead, it exhibits an incredible phenomenon of continuous growth. This colossal glacier propels forward at an average rate of two meters per day, while simultaneously losing proportional amounts of mass. This delicate balance ensures the equilibrium and stability of the glacier.
Periodically, due to its relentless advance, Perito Moreno Glacier forms a natural dam with the waters of the Rico’s arm, resulting in a gradual rise in water levels. Eventually, the mounting pressure becomes too immense, causing the glacier to rupture dramatically. Witnessing this extraordinary spectacle of nature, as the ruptured ice crashes into the surrounding waters, is an unparalleled experience that leaves visitors in awe.
Perito Moreno Glacier’s exceptional growth and occasional ruptures make it a truly remarkable phenomenon and contribute to its global acclaim.
2nd Fact: RUPTURE PHENOMENON
Perito Moreno Glacier’s relentless advancement leads it to traverse the length of the lake until it reaches the opposite shore, effectively creating a natural dam that impedes the passage of water from the Brazo Rico.
As a result, the water level progressively rises, eventually culminating in a cataclysmic rupture of the glacier. This dramatic rupture is a natural spectacle of epic proportions. Travelers from all corners of the globe flock to witness this awe-inspiring display of nature’s power and beauty.
The occurrence of these glacier ruptures does not follow a fixed timetable, making each rupture a captivating surprise. While estimations suggest a frequency of every three to four years, there is no certainty regarding the exact timing of these events.
The first recorded rupture was documented in 1917, marking the beginning of an ongoing historical process. The most recent significant rupture took place on January 19th, 2013, leaving spectators in utter astonishment at the sheer magnitude of the event.
Perito Moreno Glacier’s famous ruptures have become an iconic symbol of the region, captivating the imagination of all who witness this extraordinary natural phenomenon.
3rd Fact: AN IMPRESSIVE SCALE
Perito Moreno Glacier commands an imposing presence with its remarkable size. Spanning an area of 100 square miles, it stretches an astonishing 3 miles in width. Rising majestically to a height of 78 meters above the surface of Lake Lago Argentino, it showcases its grandeur to all who behold it.
Beneath the surface, the glacier’s sheer magnitude is equally awe-inspiring. The maximum depth recorded reaches a staggering 700 meters (2,297 feet), highlighting the colossal nature of this icy wonder.
To put its size into perspective, Perito Moreno Glacier surpasses the area of Buenos Aires city. With a glacier size of approximately 250 km², it exceeds the capital city’s size of 203 km². This stark comparison underscores the vastness and scale of Perito Moreno Glacier.
The immense size of Perito Moreno Glacier emphasizes its significance as a natural marvel and contributes to the breathtaking landscape of the region.
4th Fact: FRESH WATER RESERVE
Perito Moreno Glacier stands as not only a majestic sight but also as a crucial freshwater resource. In fact, it is the third-largest reserve of fresh water on the planet, holding vast amounts of this precious resource within its icy expanse.
The glacier’s massive size and continuous accumulation of snow and ice contribute to its role as a vital freshwater reservoir. As the glacier slowly moves and advances, it provides a steady supply of freshwater to the surrounding ecosystem and nearby Lake Lago Argentino.
The pristine meltwater that flows from Perito Moreno Glacier is not only essential for sustaining the region’s diverse flora and fauna but also plays a significant role in the local hydrological cycle. The gradual release of this freshwater resource helps regulate river flows and maintains a delicate balance within the surrounding ecosystem.
5th Fact: THE ORIGIN OF THE NAME “PERITO MORENO”
Perito Moreno Glacier owes its name to Francisco Moreno, an esteemed 19th-century Argentinian explorer. Francisco Moreno played a significant role in the border conflict between Argentina and Chile and was a key figure in the region’s exploration and mapping.
The name “Perito Moreno” is a tribute to this remarkable explorer. The word “Perito” comes from the Spanish language and translates to “specialist” or “expert,” reflecting Francisco Moreno’s expertise and knowledge in various fields, including geography, anthropology, and natural sciences.
As an homage to Francisco Moreno’s contributions, the glacier was named after him, forever linking his name with this awe-inspiring natural wonder.
6th Fact: IT IS A UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE
Perito Moreno Glacier is part of the esteemed UNESCO World Heritage Site, Los Glaciares National Park. Designated as a World Heritage Site in 1981, this national park encompasses not only the magnificent Perito Moreno Glacier but also numerous other important glaciers. Additionally, it is home to iconic landmarks such as Mount Fitz Roy in El Chaltén.
The declaration by UNESCO recognizes the exceptional value and significance of Los Glaciares National Park as a globally significant natural and cultural site. The park’s diverse array of glaciers, pristine landscapes, and rich biodiversity contribute to its outstanding universal worth.
Since 1937, Los Glaciares National Park has been subject to rigorous conservation efforts under the national law of Protected Areas in Argentina. These measures ensure the preservation and safeguarding of its natural wonders, promoting sustainable tourism and the long-term protection of the park’s unique ecosystems.
The UNESCO World Heritage status of Los Glaciares National Park reaffirms the importance of Perito Moreno Glacier and the entire park as a global treasure, worthy of appreciation, conservation, and responsible exploration.
7th Fact: SOUTHERN PATAGONIAN ICE FIELD
Perito Moreno Glacier finds its place within the awe-inspiring Southern Patagonian Ice Field, which stands as the second-largest icefield in the world. Extending across the southern Andes, this colossal icefield is a remarkable remnant of the last Ice Age, which occurred approximately 18,000 years ago when the entire region was blanketed by a thick layer of ice.
Encompassing a vast expanse, the Southern Patagonian Ice Field boasts a total of 49 glaciers emerging from its icy depths. Alongside Perito Moreno Glacier, other notable glaciers originating from this field include Upsala and Viedma in Argentina. These icy giants contribute to the breathtaking beauty and ecological importance of the region.
To ensure the preservation of this natural wonder, the Southern Patagonian Ice Field is protected by various national parks, including Argentina’s Los Glaciares National Park, as well as Chile’s Torres del Paine and Bernardo O’Higgins National Parks. These protected areas play a vital role in maintaining the integrity of the ice field and its surrounding ecosystems.
Perito Moreno Glacier’s inclusion within the Southern Patagonian Ice Field further highlights its significance and the interconnectedness of the region’s glaciers. It serves as a testament to the enduring legacy of the Ice Age and stands as a captivating reminder of our planet’s dynamic and ever-changing natural history.
8th Fact: A TOURISM HUB
Los Glaciares National Park, with its star attraction, Perito Moreno Glacier, stands as one of the most sought-after tourist destinations in Patagonia. The park’s mesmerizing landscapes and the captivating presence of the glacier draw in visitors from around the globe.
Numerous types of tours and activities await those who venture to Los Glaciares National Park. One popular option is the regular visit to the balconies and footbridges of the Perito Moreno glacier, offering breathtaking views and opportunities to capture stunning photographs of the glacier and its surroundings. These vantage points provide a unique perspective on the awe-inspiring beauty of the landscape.
Another way to appreciate the glacier is through boat navigation that takes visitors closer to its grandeur. These boat tours offer an up-close encounter with the glacier, allowing travelers to witness its immense size and marvel at its breathtaking beauty from the water.
9th Fact: EASY ACCESS
One of the factors that contributes to Perito Moreno Glacier’s popularity as a tourist attraction is its easy accessibility. Unlike some other renowned glaciers around the world that require arduous hikes to reach, Perito Moreno Glacier is conveniently located within Los Glaciares National Park and offers a remarkable sight as soon as you enter the park.
The glacier’s proximity to the park’s entrance allows visitors to experience its grandeur without the need for extensive trekking or physically demanding expeditions. As soon as you set foot in Los Glaciares National Park, the awe-inspiring presence of Perito Moreno Glacier unfolds before your eyes, offering an immediate and captivating encounter with this natural wonder.
This easy access not only attracts visitors of all ages and fitness levels but also ensures that individuals with limited mobility or time constraints can still appreciate the glacier’s remarkable beauty. The convenience of reaching Perito Moreno Glacier allows for a wider range of travelers to enjoy its splendor and adds to the accessibility and inclusiveness of the overall experience.
10th Fact: TREKKING OVER PERITO MORENO GLACIER
For adventurous souls seeking a unique and immersive experience, embarking on a trek over Perito Moreno Glacier is an excursion not to be missed. Two options are available, catering to different fitness levels and preferences.
The first option is the mini trekking, offering a moderate level of difficulty. This trek involves navigating various ascents and descents on the glacier. Accompanied by a specialist guide and equipped with the necessary gear, you’ll have the opportunity to walk on the pure white ice of Perito Moreno Glacier. This unforgettable journey grants a firsthand experience of the glacier’s captivating terrain and allows you to appreciate its icy splendor up close.
For those seeking a more physically demanding and time-intensive adventure, the Big Ice trekking is the ideal choice. Similar to the Mini Trekking, this excursion offers an even more immersive experience. Designed for trekking enthusiasts, explorers, and individuals in good health, the Big Ice trek presents additional challenges and rewards. As you traverse the glacier’s vast expanse, you’ll gain a deeper appreciation for its magnitude and beauty, surrounded by a pristine wilderness that few have the privilege to explore.
Both treks offer an extraordinary opportunity to venture into the heart of Perito Moreno Glacier, immersing yourself in its frozen realm and creating memories that will last a lifetime. Whether you choose the moderate difficulty of the Mini Trekking or embrace the greater physical demands of the Big Ice trek, these experiences will undoubtedly leave you in awe of the glacier’s majestic power and captivating allure.
With its enticing trekking options, Perito Moreno Glacier invites adventure enthusiasts to embark on a remarkable journey of exploration and discovery amidst the pristine landscapes of Patagonia.