Hot water drilling in Glacier Perito Moreno, Patagonia

Glacier Perito Moreno is one of the outlet glaciers in the Southern Patagonian Ice Field. The glacier flows into a lake, Lago Argentino, releasing ice from the calving front day and night. Glacier bed is below the lake level for most part of the ablation area, which is a possible reason why this glacier flows very fast (several meters a day). In the previous field campaign, we found clear diurnal variations in the ice flow speed and they were correlated with air temperature. This result suggested that the glacier flow speed is very sensitive to melt water production and the changes in subglacial water pressure. To test this hypothesis, from February to March 2010, we carried out hot water drilling and water pressure measurements at a point where 60% of ice is below the lake level.

Glacier Perito Moreno

Hot water drilling

Field activities


Buenos Aires

- Sugiyama, S., P. Skvarca, N. Naito, H. Enomoto, S. Tsutaki, K. Tone, S. Marinsek and M. Aniya. 2011. Ice speed of a calving glacier modulated by small fluctuations in basal water pressure. Nature Geoscience, 4, 597-600. [PDF]
- Aniya, M., P. Skvarca, S. Sugiyama, T. Aoki, T. Matsumoto, R. Anma, N. Naito, H. Enomoto, K. Hori, S. Marinsek, K. Konya, T. Nuimura, S. Tsutaki, K. Tone and G. Barcaza. 2011. Glaciological research project in Pataginia 2006-2009: Studies at Glaciar Perito Moreno, Hielo Patago'nico Sur, in area of Hielo Patago'nico Norte and along the Pacific Coast. Bulletin of Glaciological Research, 30, 1-17.
- Sugiyama, S., P. Skvarca, N. Naito, K. Tone, H. Enomoto, K. Shinbori, S. Marinsek and M. Aniya. 2010. Hot-water drilling at Glaciar Perito Moreno, Southern Patagonia Icefield. Bulletin of Glaciological Research, 29, 27-32. [PDF]

Other materials
- Movie on hot water drilling on Glaciar Perito Moreno [Link to Youtube]