Ventisquero Colgante Falls

0
239
views
Ventisquero Colgante Falls in summer, Chile
Ventisquero Colgante Falls in summer / , Flickr / CC BY 2.0
Some of the most impressive falls in South America are the comparatively little known Ventisquero Colgante Falls. Falls start from the base of Ventisquero Colgante – the Hanging Glacier and fall down from a hanging valley, shaped by this same glacier. The blue wall of this ancient glacier is towering high above the waterfall, but few hundred metres from the ice is growing lush rainforest. Unbelievable!

Late discovery

Ventisquero Colgante glacier was discovered only in 1875, during the hydrographical research led by Captain Enrique Simpson Baeza. Captain reported that the snow of the glacier is just 100 m from the bank of channel. It is not entirely clear whether he saw the waterfall and whether this waterfall was visible at all – but it is clear that the glacier has retreated since then and now the ice is 8 km from the edge of channel.

Queulat National Park

Ventisquero Colgante Falls, Chile
Ventisquero Colgante Falls / betoscopio, / CC BY-SA 2.0

The native Chono people (now extinct) named this area "Queolat" – "the sound of waterfalls". This is a land of rare beauty, with deep fiords, rainforest and glaciers. The area indeed has numerous waterfalls – most of them seasonal.

In 1982 this area was reached by one the most beautiful roads in the world – Carretera Austral. Soon – on October 13, 1983 – here was established Queulat National Park (154 093 ha).

This huge natural area remains pristine up to this day. Many interesting tourist paths have been built here but many parts of the national park remain unexplored.

Waterfall

The hanging valley of Ventisquero Colgante has been shaped by ice. As the climate became warmer, this 50,000 years old glacier retreated and a cliff wall of incredible proportions opened.

The ablation process is on-going and a powerful stream of meltwater flows from the base of the glacier and immediately falls down from the giant wall.

The number and location of falls changes according to the weather conditions and the position of glacier. Sometimes there is seen one lower fall, sometimes two mighty streams – one taller and a lower one. There are times when only the taller waterfall flows. There are several more, even taller seasonal falls nearby.

Additional effect is created by the frequent crash of ice. The quake of the soil is felt some kilometres far.

Ventisquero Colgante Falls seen from Canal de Puyuhuapi, 15 km distance
Ventisquero Colgante Falls seen from Canal de Puyuhuapi, 15 km distance / Mamutti, / CC BY 2.0

Ventisquero Colgante Falls are flowing throughout the year. In summer the sight becomes more impressive – there is more water and less ice at the base of falls.

At the lower part of falls has formed a cone of ice and talus. In winter it becomes higher, covering up to half of the falls, in summer it melts down. The stream disappears under this cone for a short distance.

As the stream (Rio Ventisquero) leaves this underground section, it forms a small lake – Laguna Témpanos – and then after some 6 km enters the Canal de Puyuhuapi.

Height of falls

The estimates of the height of these falls are very diverse, from 130 m (VisitChile.com) to 600 m (World Waterfall Database)

The truth is somewhere in between – but, when looking at the seemingly slow fall of water in video, it becomes clear the these falls are very high, above 350 m.

References

  1. Ventisquero Colgante, Cascada de, World Waterfall Database. Accessed in 02.01.2012.

loading map - please wait...

Ventisquero Colgante Falls -44.437080, -72.506117 Ventisquero Colgante Falls
Coordinates: 44.4371 S 72.5061 W
Categories: Waterfalls
Values: Geology, Visual
Rating: (4.5 / 5)
Address: South America, Chile, XI Aisén, Queulat National Park
Name in Spanish: Cascada de Ventisquero Colgante (Cascade of the Hanging Glacier)
Height: > 350 m
Tallest single drop: > 350 m
Width: 30 – 45 m
Average annual flow: 14 m3/s
Stream: Rio Ventisquero

Landmarks of Chile

Conguillio National Park, araucarias and Sierra Nevada volcano, Chile
Conguillio National Park, araucarias and Sierra Nevada volcano / Javier Ignacio Acuña Ditzel, / CC BY 2.0
The natural and man-made heritage of Chile is very diverse, also thanks due to extreme length of the country extending from driest deserts in the north to the most southern historical inhabited lands of the world in Patagonia. Highlights of Chile are: magnificent views of Patagonian Andes and fjords, the volcanic landscape of Northern and Central Chile and the driest desert of the world – Atacama.

Waterfalls and rapids

Virginia Falls, Canada
Virginia Falls / Paul Gierszewski, / public domain
Some of the most fascinating and awe inspiring natural monuments are waterfalls, or locations where a river abruptly changes its elevation.

Recommended books

Enduring Patagonia


Patagonia is a strange and terrifying place, a vast tract of land shared by Argentina and Chile where the violent weather spawned over the southern Pacific charges through the Andes with gale-force winds, roaring clouds, and stinging snow. Squarely athwart the latitudes known to sailors as the roaring forties and furious fifties, Patagonia is a land trapped between angry torrents of sea and sky, a place that has fascinated explorers and writers for centuries.

Walking Patagonia


Like a conquistador drawn to gold, glory, and God, Caspian Ray has always felt a magnetic pull toward Latin America. He visits anytime he has the chance.

Of all the places that have captured his heart, Patagonia–a sparsely populated area shared by Argentina and Chile–has been the site of his defining adventure.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here