What seemed to be a usual boat trip to contemplate the immensity of the Perito Moreno glacier, in the province of Santa Cruz, ended in a scene rarely seen for tourists who have the privilege of knowing one of the main tourist attractions of Patagonia Argentina. While sailing Lake Argentino, the crew of a boat captured with their cell phones the exact moment in which there was an impressive collapse of the huge walls on the north face of the Glacier and the subsequent emergence of a gigantic mass of ice.
This exceptional event occurred on February 25, but the images of it were only released three days later by the portal Now Calafate. The viral video shows how the 60-meter-high walls of the north face of the Glacier collapsed for several seconds, before the attentive gaze of the privileged few who witnessed the natural phenomenon.
But that was not all, immediately afterward, and to the surprise of those present, a mass of ice of enormous proportions and a more crystalline blue emerged from the depths and came to position itself, for a few seconds, at the same height as the Perito Moreno. This situation caused screams and stupor in the tourists because the power of the mass of ice when it came to the surface caused a series of unexpected waves that put everyone on alert.
Precisely, a group of scientists from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, led by seismologist Douglas Wiens, completed one of the first seismic studies of the Patagonian Andes through which it was concluded that as the ice fields melt, the ground rises.
Through a publication in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, the experts describe the local dynamics of the Patagonian subsoil. They found that variations in the size of glaciers, as they grow and shrink, drive rapid and spatially variable uplift in that region of southern Argentina. Data obtained by Wiens and Hannah Mark, a former Steve Fossett Postdoctoral Fellow in earth and planetary sciences at the University of Washington, show how a gap in the descending tectonic plate about 100 kilometers below Patagonia allowed material from the mantle flows under South America.
The low viscosities mean that the mantle responds to deglaciation on the time scale of tens of years, rather than thousands of years, as we see in Canada, for example,Wiens told Phys.org. On the other hand, another interesting fact is that the viscosity is higher under the southern part of the South Patagonian Ice Field compared to the North Patagonian Ice Field, which helps to determine the reason why the uplift rates of enormous ice masses vary from north to south.
In short, when glaciers melt, an enormous weight of the soil that previously supported them is removed. In this way, huge amounts of water flow into the oceans and the newly released land bounces back and rises.