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A unique sight in Perito Moreno glacier

Monday, March 15th 2004 - 21:00 UTC
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Ten thousand people gathered in Argentine Patagonia for a historic sight, the collapsing of a great ice barrier from the world famous Perito Moreno glacier, an event that was last seen in 1988.

Tourists from all over the world and locals massed next to the railings of Parque Nacional Los Glaciares to watch and cheer as the advancing glacier was finally cut off by the waters of the Lago Argentino.

Local press indicated that for the last few days the six daily flights to El Calafate, the closest village, were fully booked as well as local hotels, motels and lodgings.

The advancing and growing ice barrier from the glacier collapses with a deafening noise that can he heard for miles, under pressure from the Lago Argentino. The phenomenon that began last Friday is estimated to last a couple of days before the ice and water reach a new balance.

Perito Moreno glacier has an extension of 257 square kilometres, 30 km. long and four wide, and is located 1,800 miles south of Buenos Aires, close to El Calafate. The Glaciers National Park covers 600,000 hectares and since 1981 has been declared Humanity heritage by Unesco.

According to Argentine records since 1899, 16 times during the XXth. century Perito Moreno dammed the waters of the Rico confluent leading to Lago Argentino forcing the formidable ruptures and ice barrier collapses. The first rupture occurred in 1936, followed by 1942, 1947, 1949, 1951, 1952, 1956 and 1966. In 1942 the ice barrier caused the Rico confluent water level to rise 19 meters above average before collapsing. The latest happened in 1970, 72, 75, 77, 1980, 1984 and 1988. Since the former governor of the province of Santa Cruz, President Nestor Kirchner took office, the Perito Moreno glacier has become a fashionable location both in politics and tourism.

King Juan Carlos of Spain, presidents Lula da Silva from Brazil, Ricardo Lagos from Chile have shared photos with the Argentine president and wife with the spectacular background of the ice barrier of the glacier.

With the rising popularity of President Kirchner, tourism to Argentine Patagonia has also rocketed both domestically and internationally.

Categories: Mercosur.

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