+ Glacier Lake

Glacier Lake – O’Higgins

THE FIFTH DEEPEST LAKE IN THE WORLD

 

In this mountainous environment, rivers and lakes are scattered throughout the country in different shapes, sizes and colors. In milky blue lakes fallen floating icebergs from glaciers and capriciously pulled in by the storms, while in rivers and lakes with clear water, trout and perch inhabit.

 

He O’Higgins – San Martin Lake has an area of 1,049 km2 and a maximum depth of 836 meters. It is the deepest lake in America and the fifth deepest in the world. Its basin covers approximately 14,000 km2 and has occupied a significant portion of the Southern Ice Field to the west, up hills and plateaus pre-cordillera increasingly steppe to the east. Lake is a boxed edge, surrounded by mountains and divided into eight arms interconnected. Is the most isolated and unique Patagonian lakes draining to the Pacific through the Pascua.Since 1902, the lake is separated into two equal parts by Chile and Argentina. The Carretera Austral ends in Villa O’Higgins, located at the end of the northwest arm of the lake. To the east, winding roads to reach the lake stays La Maipu and Josephine.

Lautaro Volcano, with 3380 meters, in the heart of Southern Ice is the highest mountain in O’Higgins basin.

The hill Sttefen, with 3050 meters above sea level, stands the imposing slope established with the average level of Lake O’Higgins (250 meters) and has been featured in mystery and confusion. Only shows a rise in 1965. Other high mountains and beautiful
surrounding and reflected in any of the eight arms of the lake O’Higgins: Krugger (3,000 m) and Alesna (2,480 m), located in the western arm of Lake, Cerro O’Higgins (2910 m .) and the mythical Mount Fitz Roy, which is accessed by the route of the Glacier Girl, at the southern end of the territory.

In this mountainous environment, rivers and lakes are scattered throughout the country in different shapes, sizes and colors. In milky blue lakes fallen floating icebergs from glaciers and capriciously pulled in by the storms, while in rivers and lakes with clear water, trout and perch inhabit.

The most important rivers are the Easter and Mayer. The first drains the lake O’Higgins and is the second largest river in Chile those draining into the Pacific Ocean (700 m3/sec.). Mayer River is the main tributary of Lake O’Higgins and his mouth is located Villa O’Higgins. The Rio Grande is located north of the zone of O’Higgins was born in the southern slopes of the mountain range of Cerro San Lorenzo and has its outlet into the fjord Mitchell, constituting a separate watershed.

 

The fifth deepest lake in the world
The measure was established by experts from the Center for Scientific Studies in Valdivia and a German university. The data serve to explain the retreat of local glaciers.

Terra web site, October 21, 2003. Nearly seven miles south of Villa O’Higgins (Region XI), located Bahamondes Bay, from where tourist boats that cross the Lake O’Higgins. Visitors traveling on board do not hesitate to brave the cold so to observe the impressive glaciers of the place. Although the pieces of ice floating in the lake attract all eyes, according to a new study that is under water is also worthy of attention: recent measurements show that the Chilean lake is the fifth deepest in the world and the deepest of America. The research, conducted by experts from the Center for Scientific Studies in Valdivia (CECS) and Dresdren Technical University (Germany), indicates that Lake O’Higgins has a maximum depth of 836 m. The brand, which exceeds the Argentine lake almost 100 meters, was recorded using a digital echo sounder in the fjord occupied by the glacier O’Higgins, the fourth largest in the Southern Ice Fields and the one with biggest drop in our country: 15 km in a century. According to scientists, the constant movement of glaciers erodes the bottom of the lake, which help explain its great depth. Six years ago, Gino Casassa and Andres Rivera – glaciologists CECS-published a study describing the evolution of the O’Higgins glacier since 1896. They argued that the deep dimensions of the lake helped the ice on the surface lacked a strong enough supporting a key factor in the rapid breakdown and retreat of the ice mass.


Source: Terra.

 

Interaction with glaciers

 

At that time, who reviewed the article severely criticized the fact that the hypothesis was speculative and had no foundation in the field. Six years later we had the opportunity to go there and make the measurements, Casassa said. In this way, he adds, they met with the Chilean and American record depth of a lake, which adds a special flavor, perhaps similar to the joy of a pioneer explorer. In this regard, we own the words of the mayor of Villa O’Higgins, who on hearing the news said: This is my community!. According to Daniel Torres, head of the Scientific Department of the Chilean Antarctic Institute, the relationship between the depth of the lake and glacier retreat has support. The dynamics of ice in Antarctica and the ice of the continent is similar. The glacier melt water underneath, thereby forming a hole that makes progressively lose support, until it breaks. In the span of months or days are masses of ice that break down completely, told the newspaper La Tercera.

 

Future water supplies
According to the expert, after determining the depth of the lake, the important thing is to obtain samples of bottom sediments. As is the case when analyzing the rings that make up the trunk of a tree, says the scientist, this analysis would provide information on long periods of time and effects like global warming: There has been a very sharp decline of the glaciers of Antarctica and the continental Chile. In some cases there is an evident decline of more than 200 or 500 meters, he says. According to the study of CECS, although since 1995 the glacier O’Higgins has reduced its deterioration – for allegedly reached shallower areas of the lake where the ice can not float – the situation is still serious. The increase in temperature causes the ice to continue receding at a rate of 3 meters per year. Torres says that future studies will study the behavior of glaciers in the area and nearby ecosystems, since the area has a variety of organisms: Glaciers are large reserves of water and, at some point, will be needed. Maybe that happens in 100 years or more, but you have to know now, he concludes.

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