It sounded like a gun firing at a range too close for comfort. The bang echoed and we swung our head from side to side. Where did it come from? We scanned the horizon intently. Suddenly we heard another crack this time louder and a great pillar of ice collapsed, crashing into the lake with resounding roars.
A white giant, the Perito Moreno Glacier is situated 50km west of El Calafate. It is one of the few icy tongues in the world that is still advancing. It was 5km wide at the face and went back as far as the eye could see, some 20km or so. This river of ice had carved out the wide steep sided valleys of Lago Argentino, this country’s second largest lake. The ice warmed by the afternoon sun turned blue as it became more saturated with water. Peaked features and encapsulated dust layers provided excellent photo opportunities from the promontory of land, which reached to within 100 metres of the glacier's advancing face.
Like watching a 2 pence arcade game where the coins are just on the lip of the step, you were sure that a piece would carve off next, that overhang surely would go.... but it clung on.
Three times in about two hours we saw a towering ice pinnacle cleave, toppling into the lake and creating a large splash as new icebergs were released. We were captivated, watching nature's self destruction was enthralling. There was no interpretative information at the observation point, which was a shame as I was intrigued to know how old the ice was that had now been pushed to the front. And how long did it take for the front line to fall? As a pillar crashed down revealing a fresh surface it was exciting to think that we would be only a handful of people to ever see that frozen azure blue surface before it melted away. Such is the transient nature of life.
Our first glimpse of the imposing Perito Moreno glacier
The ice reaches so close to the azimuth of land opposite the face that over 30 people have died by being struck by missiles of falling ice
Almost close enough to touch
See the tourist boat for scale
The low cloud and changing light created wonderful effects on the ice field
Even the condors came in for a closer look
When nature gets this big it can be pretty humbling!
Will this piece fall next?
Oh no I think its this one....here it goes....(see the boat again for scale - top right)
Amazing ice formations