Parque Nacional Los Glaciares
Seccional Lago Viedma
Phone: ++54 2962 493004 (DDN: 02962 493004)
Los Glaciares National Park is located in the region known as Southern Andes of Argentine territory, southwest of the province of Santa Cruz on the border with Chile. It was created in 1937 to protect a vast region dominated by glaciers, bordered by native subantarctic forest and a large number of endemic species of plants and animals.
This unique natural wonder has been declared "World Heritage" by UNESCO in 1981.
The national park comprises a scenery of mountains, lakes and forests, including a large portion of the Andes practically covered with ice and snow to the west and the arid Patagonian steppe to the east. Its name is due to the presence of numerous glaciers that have their origin in the great Southern Patagonian Ice Field, the largest ice field in the southern hemisphere after Antarctica -which occupies almost half of the park. Also known as Southern Patagonian Icecap, feeds 47 large glaciers, of which 13 descend to the Atlantic Sea. There are also more than 200 glaciers of lesser magnitude, independent of the Patagonian Ice Field.
While large ice masses are found on our planet over 2500 m.a.s.l, the glaciers in Santa Cruz province are originated at only 1500 m.a.s.l and descend down to only 200 m.a.s.l, allowing visitors a unique access in the world. The melting of this vast water system originate two great lakes, the Argentino and Viedma lakes, which flow into the Atlantic basin across the province through Santa Cruz river.
At the southern area of the National Park there is the most famous of all glaciers: Perito Moreno glacier. It owes its fame to its continuous movement, which produces a cyclical phenomenon of advance and retreat with spectacular detachments of their ice front. The nearest town to the glacier is El Calafate, the center of all activities and services on the area.
At the northern area of the Natinal Park are located the highest peaks and most diverse forms of granite mountains, which together with forests, glaciers and lakes, are one of the most extraordinary wild places in Patagonia. The maximum height is Mount Fitz Roy or Chaltén (3405m) seconded by Cerro Torre (3102 m). In that scenario is placed the small tourist village of El Chaltén.
Los Glaciares National Park protects a vast region dominated by glaciers of the Southern Patagonian Ice Field, in the Santa Cruz Province (Argentina). Of gigantic proportions to our human scale, the current ice cap and glaciers are actually a small sample of what was the last major glaciation, which began 100,000 years ago, was at its peak 20,000 years ago and ended abruptly about 10,000 years or so..
At its greatest progress, the ice completely covered the entire area that can be seen below, revealing only a few hills and elevations above 1000 meters of ice thickness. The erosive force of those powerful ice bulldozers moved in a West-East direction, shaping the two large flattened U-shaped valleys now occupied by Lago Viedma in the north and Lago Argentino in the south.