Friday, 24 December 2010
Hazard! Crumbling Glacier in Argentina
Just a few tens of tonnes of ice crashing from the front of the Perito Moreno glacier, with the roar of a firing cannon.
This is just one half of the glacier's width. It's one of the few Patagonian glaciers which is advancing, not retreating. To get an feel for the glacier front's height, look for the teeny tiny ship towards the far side of Lago Argentina.
Here's us on board earlier in the day. We got here with a 90 minute bus trip from the charmless and touristy town of El Calafate. The Patagonian town's only virtue and raison d'etre is that it's near, by local standards, to this magnificent and boisterous rio grande of ice.
Looking at the Perito Moreno's vertiginous and unstable leading edge, across its crevasse riven surface and up to the mountains and ice field from where it flows.
We saw and heard lumps of ice the size of cavarans topple from the sheer face.
The sunnier the weather and the later in the day you visit, the more spectacular the ice falls. Chunks hundreds of tonnes in weight sometimes calve off. A few visitors have been killed by flying chunks of ice. However it seems to be pretty safe if you stick to the network of boardwalks that run up and down the mid section of the crumbling face.