The Treacherous Perito Moreno Glacier in Argentina
Located at the southern tip of Argentina, in the Los Glaciares National Park, the treacherous Perito Moreno Glacier wreaks havoc every three or four years. Part of the Patagonian ice cap, Perito Moreno stands out from all the rest because it manages to cross over the entire Argentino Lake, making it swell a great deal. Acting as a dam, the glacier traps the water of this lake (the deepest in Argentina), rising its waters by an extra 37 meters (121 feet). By doing so, Perito Moreno reaches the Magellan peninsula from the opposite bank, thus blocking the Tempanos channel.
Sometimes the glacier even manages to advance towards the forest there, but the biggest impact is that it traps all the water within the lake itself, which is supplied to the North by the other, Upsala and Spegazzini glaciers. The pressure thus becomes so great behind this huge wall of ice that it inevitably bursts. The following two or three days, the glacier spews out huge chunks of ice into the water, giving off an infernal and terrifying sound which can be heard from miles away. The last time this happened was on March 10, 2016.
The Perito Moreno Glacier is one of only three Patagonian glaciers that is growing. The reason remains debated by glaciologists. The terminus of the Perito Moreno Glacier is 5 kilometers (3 mi) wide, with an average height of 74 m (240 ft) above the surface of the water of Argentino Lake. It has a total ice depth of 170 meters (558 ft). Located at 78 kilometers (48 mi) from El Calafate, was named after the explorer Francisco Moreno, a pioneer who studied the region in the 19th century and played a major role in defending the territory of Argentina in the conflict surrounding the international border dispute with Chile.
Due to its size and accessibility, Perito Moreno is one of the major tourist attractions in southern Patagonia. It is less than two hours by bus from El Calafate, and many tour companies run daily visits. A large visitor centre at the site features a walking circuit which allows visitors to view the southern flank and the east facing edge of the glacier.