Argentine glacier advances despite global warming

Jun 14, 2009 By JEANNETTE NEUMANN , Associated Press Writer
Argentine glacier advances despite global warming (AP)
FILE - In this May 18, 2009 file photo, tourists walk on Perito Moreno Glacier in Los Glaciares National Park in Argentina's Patagonia region. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko, File)

(AP) -- Argentina's Perito Moreno glacier is one of only a few ice fields worldwide that have withstood rising global temperatures.

Nourished by Andean snowmelt, the glacier constantly grows even as it spawns icebergs the size of apartment buildings into a frigid lake, maintaining a nearly perfect equilibrium since measurements began more than a century ago.

"We're not sure why this happens," said Andres Rivera, a glacialist with the Center for Scientific Studies in Valdivia, Chile. "But not all respond equally to ."

Viewed at a safe distance on cruise boats or the wooden observation deck just beyond the glacier's leading edge, Perito Moreno's jagged surface radiates a brilliant white in the strong Patagonian sun. Submerged sections glow deep blue.

And when the wind blows in a cloud cover, the 3-mile-wide (5 kilometer) glacier seems to glow from within as the surrounding mountains and water turn a meditative gray.

Every few years, Perito Moreno expands enough to touch a point of land across Lake Argentina, cutting the nation's largest freshwater lake in half and forming an ice dam as it presses against the shore.

The water on one side of the dam surges against the glacier, up to 200 feet (60 meters) above lake level, until it breaks the ice wall with a thunderous crash, drowning the applause of hundreds of tourists.

"It's like a massive building falling all of the sudden," said park ranger Javier D'Angelo, who experienced the rupture in 2008 and 1998.

The rupture is a reminder that while Perito Moreno appears to be a vast, 19-mile-long (30 kilometer) frozen river, it's a dynamic icescape that moves and cracks unexpectedly.

"The glacier has a lot of life," said Luli Gavina, who leads mini-treks across the glacier's snow fields.

©2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Explore further: NASA's infrared data shows newborn Tropical Storm Marie came together

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Tasman Glacier retreat extreme

Apr 23, 2008

The Tasman Glacier is retreating faster than ever and will ultimately disappear, glaciologists at Massey University are warning.

Chance discovery: Alaska Range glacier surges

Mar 16, 2006

There is evidence that the McGinnis Glacier, a little-known tongue of ice in the central Alaska Range, has surged. Assistant Professor of Physics Martin Truffer recently noticed the lower portion of the glacier ...

Fastest glacier in Greenland doubles speed

Dec 08, 2004

The world's fastest glacier, Greenland's Jakobshavn Isbrae, doubled its speed between 1997 and 2003. The rapid movement of ice from land into the sea provides key evidence of newly discovered relationships between ice sheets, se ...

Recommended for you

NASA sees Tropical Storm Karina get a boost

1 hour ago

NASA's TRMM satellite saw Tropical Storm Karina get a boost on August 22 in the form of some moderate rainfall and towering thunderstorms in the center of the storm.

Checking the first data from OCO-2

6 hours ago

(Phys.org) —On July 2, NASA successfully launched its first satellite dedicated to measuring carbon dioxide in Earth's atmosphere. The Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) mission—operated by NASA's ...

User comments : 5

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

jonnyboy
2.7 / 5 (7) Jun 14, 2009
where's your GW nowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww?
daqman
3.1 / 5 (7) Jun 14, 2009
Do you people ever bother to read the article before spouting your anti global warming crap. You make me sick.
Velanarris
5 / 5 (2) Jun 15, 2009
If anything this is more evidence that glacial helath is determined by precipitation rather than atmospheric heat.
GrayMouser
not rated yet Jun 19, 2009
If anything this is more evidence that glacial helath is determined by precipitation rather than atmospheric heat.

Like the glacier in Africa that everybody was saying was disappearing due to AGW when the daytime temperatures NEVER rise above the freezing point of water.
GrayMouser
not rated yet Jun 19, 2009
Do you people ever bother to read the article before spouting your anti global warming crap. You make me sick.

Well... When the glacier shrinks it's due to global warming and when it grows it's despite of global warming. Excuse me but it too much like having your cake and eating it too.