The Birth of an Iceberg

There’s a reason so many people come to El Calafate, and its not for the expensive restaurants, though with any tourist town that’s a part of the deal. No, El Calafate is the gateway to Parque Nacional Los Glaciares (Glacier National Park), and the highlight attraction, Glacier Perito Moreno. This is a glacier in the classic sense, flowing directly into Lago Argentino. We headed out early in the morning in a rental car to beat the tour buses so we could sit in silence and listen to the creaks, moans, cracks and thunder of the glacier, and we were not let down. We felt dwarfed at sitting at the bottom, now looking at the pictures it’s really hard to get the right sense of proportion.

What separates Perito Moreno from other such glaciers is that it moves really fast, meaning it is regularly calving, or as we like to call it, giving birth to new icebergs. We got to see four or five large “births” and each time was as incredible as the last. The noise as the ice cracked, then dropped, then hit water, then reverberated around the area was simply awesome. It was literately minutes before the sound totally died away and it was silent again for a few minutes (till the next creaks began).

(Hope that file didn’t eat your computer … or our website). I wish we had a way for you to hear the sounds too.

7 Replies to “The Birth of an Iceberg”

  1. I recall hearing this loud, cracking sound away from Perito Moreno. It was a little iceberg breaking and the noise it made would make you believe a bus crashed into the water and that boggled my mind. I cannot imagine how loud it must of been to see/hear what you saw coming directly from the glacier. Did you manage to see the glacier when the sun is not out, giving it a blueish color?

  2. That was very graphic. And I have sensed an ice theme lately in your blog. What are these sunny skies and beaches you speak of in your FB status?

    Bet that was pretty f’in cool though. Though are these new icebergs more common now than they have been in the past?

  3. I’m wondering if the answer to Mark’s question has anything to do with the phrase “global warming.”

    I mean, there’s no such thing as that. These are just natural warming cycles that are going to cook our collective goose.

  4. Actually Perito Merino is a stable glacier, meaning it’s pretty much growing as fast as it’s shrinking (or birthing). It’s one of the few in the world that isn’t in decline.

    As for the image, we set the camera to continuous shoot so we got a ton of shots of it falling and Jeff then put them all together as a animated .gif file.

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