Argentina Perito Moreno Glacier

5 images 1 contributors

Hougaard Malan

About this spot

This outlet glacier of the Hielo Sur ice cap is one of the world’s largest glaciers and it has an immense presence. It is also one of only a handful of major glaciers on earth that are constantly advancing. From the moment you step out of your vehicle at the parking lot you can hear what sounds like a distant thunderstorm. The thunderous creaking and groaning are the sounds of several trillion tons of ice, moving over the earth a few paces per day. A favourite description of glaciers is that they are earth’s greatest paradox – one of the most powerful and destructive forces of energy and motion, frozen in near-total stasis. Perito Moreno is one of our planet’s greatest examples of this paradox. At the highest point, its face measures about 80m, or 25 stories high. From side to side, the face stretches an immense six kilometres. It is not only the photos that severely fail to do Perito Moreno’s size justice, but also seeing it in person. The immense scale only becomes evident when a large piece of ice calves off, falling to the water below in slow motion and absolute silence…then only a few seconds later, a deafening explosion fills the air and small waves ripple out from the point of impact. A while later, those ‘small’ waves crash into the shore below in a dramatic display of nature’s power. Only after seeing such an event do you fully realise the scale of this mountain of ice.

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