March 10, 2016
Oh look, I’m updating the blog. Since Amante has been resting ashore for the winter, we went to Patagonia. Look what we saw!
The Petito Moreno glacier near El Calafate, Argentina, is one of the most visited glaciers in Patagonia. It creeps (that’s what glaciers do, they creep, slowly, at a glacial pace) towards a headland separating Lago Argentina from a narrow stretch called Brazo Rico. Every 4-6 years, the glacier intersects with the headland, forming an ice dam. The water on the Brazo Rico side rises over the period until it gets heavy and warm enough (always in summer) to start to melt its way under the ice dam. Once the water starts moving, we were told it forms an arch, as shown, and this collapses in a matter of days from when the water first starts flowing. We got to see it!!
It fell by bits and pieces, some loud, others barely noticeable. Pieces started falling a day or so before we saw this, but we got to see the finale.
Pardon, the noise. I chose to leave it in, to let you experience the wind and cold, as well as the excitement from the crowd. In other words, I am too lazy to edit.
First, the front fell off.
Later a nice big chuck of the middle fell.
On the other side, thousands of people stood on the walkways, along with the news crews, as our being on the boat at the actual time it collapsed was a miracle of chance. The pros were set up all day long, since first light.
We happened to be on a boat on the high side of the ice dam, in the Rico Brazo arm of Lago Argentina. It had risen 33 feet due to the dam, and when the water started flowing under the ice dam, the locals knew it would collapse in a few days. That’s when we happened to show up.