The Perito Moreno Glacier is located in southwest Argentina within the Los Glaciares National Park. One of the most important tourist attractions in Argentine Patagonia, it is embedded into the remote mountain landscape of the Patagonian Andes shared by Argentina and Chile.
Perito Moreno Glacier
The Perito Moreno Glacier is located in southwest Argentina within the Los Glaciares National Park. It is one of the most important tourist attractions in Argentine Patagonia.
The 250 sq km (97 sq mi) ice formation, 30 km (19 mi) long, is one of 48 glaciers fed by the Southern Patagonian Ice Field in the Andes system shared with Chile. This ice field is the world's third-largest reserve of fresh water.
The glacier, located 78 km (48 mi) from El Calafate and named after the explorer Francisco Moreno, is the most striking sight. The ongoing rupture of this glacier is considered one of the most impressive natural spectacles in the world.
This large glacier blocks a narrow channel formed by Lake Argentino, thereby raising the water level temporarily. This, in turn, causes regular thunderous ruptures of the glacier tongue into the lake.
Los Glaciares National Park
Los Glaciares National Park is located in the southwest of Santa Cruz Province in the Argentine part of Patagonia. Comprised of a National Park and a National Reserve, it has a total surface area of nearly 1.5 million acres (600,000 ha).
Los Glaciares National Park is embedded into the remote mountain landscape of the Patagonian Andes, shared by Argentina and Chile.
Established on 11 May 1937, the National Park covers an area of 726,927 ha (1,796,275 acres or 2,806 sq mi), making it the largest national park in Argentina. Los Glaciares borders Torres del Paine National Park to the south in Chilean territory.
Los Glaciares owes its name to the numerous glaciers covering roughly half of the site. Many of these glaciers are fed by the massive Southern Patagonian Ice Field, the most extensive South American relict of the glaciological processes of the Quaternary Period. In addition, there are impressive glaciers independent of the main ice field.
This World Heritage property constitutes a massive freshwater reservoir. The Upsala, Onelli, and Perito Moreno Glaciers calve into the icy and milky waters of the massive Lake Argentino, which is partly included in the property.
Los Glaciares, of which 30% is covered by ice, can be divided into two parts, each corresponding with one of the two elongated big lakes partially contained by the National Park:
Lake Argentino, 1,466 km2 (566 sq mi) and the largest in Argentina, is in the south
Lake Viedma, 1,100 km2 (420 sq mi), is in the north
Both lakes feed the Santa Cruz River that flows down to the lower part of Puerto Santa Cruz and the Atlantic Ocean. Between the two halves is a non-touristic zone without lakes called Zona Centro.
Dominated by rugged granite peaks, the landscape is modeled by massive, ongoing glaciations. About half of the park is covered by numerous glaciers, many of which belong to South America's largest ice field.
Despite the name's focus on the impressive glaciers, there is a remarkable landscape diversity encompassing a sizeable altitudinal gradient of nearly 10,000 ft (3,000 m) and diverse ecosystems. Several mountains very popular among fans of climbing and trekking are found here, including Mount Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre.
Los Glaciares hosts a representative sample of Magellanic subpolar forest and west Patagonian steppe biodiversity in a good state of conservation.
The glaciers feed the huge mountain lakes of Viedma and Argentino. The overwhelming beauty of the landscape is epitomized where the Perito Moreno Glacier meets Lake Argentino.
The vast front of the slowly and constantly moving glacier, up to 200 ft (60 m) high, regularly calves bluish icebergs into the waters of Lake Argentino, an audiovisual spectacle attracting visitors worldwide.
Los Glaciares has a cool and moist temperate climate. Mean temperatures range from 0.6 °C (33.1 °F) in winter to 13.4 °C (56.1 °F) in summer, although, at higher altitudes, the mean annual temperature can be around −3 °C (26.6 °F).
The park receives an average annual rainfall of 500 mm (20 in) in the west and 900 mm (35 in) in the east, evenly distributed throughout the year. Snowfall is expected during the colder months.