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While researching things to see in Argentina’s Lake District, I came across stories of a trip to a black glacier. All the images we had seen of glaciers in Patagonia were either bright white or a had cool blue hue, but black? We wanted to see this for ourselves.
So after crossing back over the Andes from Chile into Argentina, we set off on a tour of the Nahuel Huapi National Park, outside of Bariloche, to take in the Ventisquero Negro Glacier today. The day tour is packed with highlights (we’ll write more about this trip soon!), but the ultimate sight is the three snowy peaks of Mount Tronador. Actually an extinct volcano, this mountain serves as the border between Argentina and Chile, and has a total of eight glaciers. Ventisquero Negro (which means ‘black snowdrift’), with its black ice at the base of the mountain is definitely the most unusual. For a full view of what this all looks like, check out our Facebook Photo of the day.
The ice almost looks like rocks, but is really dirt and sediment from avalanches above compacted into the ice over thousands of years. The ice-free terra firma where we stood to take these pictures was once all glacier as well, but has since receded significantly, leaving a lagoon in its place. The lagoon is home to several ice blocks of all shapes and sizes that fall from the glaciers and float here until they melt. When the brown blocks of ice crack in pieces on their way down, the bright white of the glacier gleams out from the thin dark layer that encases it.