Teach Through Educational Travel: Icebergs in Patagonia?

Did you know that Patagonia, a region in Argentina and Chile, has icebergs (called tempanos, for ice floes, in Spanish)?

Indeed, the northern arm of Patagonia has many icebergs. Today we’ll learn about Los Glaciares National Park, where many of these icebergs are located. Los Glaciares National Park is located in Argentina, and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Even if you weren’t a Spanish speaker, you’d probably guess that this park is named after the many glaciers (47) and the giant ice cap in the Andes Mountains that feeds them. Of those 47 glaciers, 13 flow toward the Atlantic Ocean.

Los Glaciares borders Torres del Pain National Park in Chile, and is 30-40% covered by ice. There are two long lakes in the park – Lake Argentino, and Lake Viedma. Lake Viedma also features the Viedma Glacier and several popular climbing mountains (Mount Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre). Lake Argentino features 3 very popular glaciers (Perito Moreno, Upsala, and Spegazzini), is the largest lake in Argentina, and is 15,000 years old.

Los Glaciares is a large international tourist attraction; people come from all around the world to see the glaciers, mountains, and nature.

Teach Through Educational Travel

  • Remember when we learned about glaciers in British Columbia and Chile? Take a look at these two NASA photos of the Viedma Glacier (here and here). How does this glacial activity differ from that in BC and Chile?
  • Watch these two videos on the icebergs (here and here). Discuss how human interactions with this environment change it (and not necessarily for the better). Is the impact of tourist boats much different than wakeboarders? Why or why not?
  • Read this traveler’s experiences in the area. Do you feel it is important for people to see these icebergs and unspoiled land, in order to want to conserve it?