Photo Friday: Ice Collapse at Argentina Glacier

This Photo Friday, take a look at Glaciar Perito Moreno in Argentina, where ice collapse has become a spectacle. Perito Moreno is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Patagonia region. The terminus of the Perito Moreno glacier is 5 km wide, with an average height of 74 m above the surface of the water of Argentino Lake. It has a total ice depth of 170 meters (558 ft).

Tourists gather around the glacier (Source: Rodrigo Soldon /Filckr).


Los Glaciares National Park, Perito Moreno Glacier, 1981 (source: De Agostini Picture Library / P. Jaccod).


According to the glaciology studies, while most of the glaciers are retreating in the world as well as in Patagonia region, this unique glacier has advanced or remained the stable during the 20th century. Glaciar Perito Moreno is located in Los Glaciares National Park (Argentina) and is an eastern outlet glacier of the Southern Patagonia Icefield, the largest reserve of fresh water of the southern hemisphere outside of Antarctica.

Comparison between early 20th century and contemporary photographs of Glaciar Perito Moreno. The upper photographs were taken in 1914 by the German Scientific Society Expedition and the lower photographs in 2013 by Claudia Guerrido (Source: Claudia M Guerrido/The Holocene)


Periodically, the glacier advances through the the “Lago Argentino,” or Argentine Lake, and reaches the Península de Magallanes. It has regularly produced an ice dam between the Brazo Rico and Canal de los Témpanos since the early 20th century. The most recent ice dam establishment was in 2016.

A photo of where the ice-dam formed (Source: María G. Lenzano/Cold Regions Science and Technology).


The ice dam is expected to collapse eventually in a spectacular rupture event due to the effect of calving.

Perito Moreno Glacier ice fall (Source: Creative Commons).