NEW YEAR'S AT THE END OF THE WORLD: THE GSA STUDENT GEOVENTURES TRIP TO PATAGONIA
Upon arrival in Buenos Aires, students spent the afternoon exploring the city center. In the evening they were treated to an introduction to Argentine culture at one of the citys famous tango clubs. Early the next morning, the group took the 4-hour flight to Río Gallegos where they met their chartered bus and took it across the pampas to El Calafate, a growing city at the foot of the Patagonian Andes and entrance to Glaciares National Park. After visiting the surging Perito Moreno Glacier and watching icebergs calve into Lago Argentino, an Andean finger lake, camp was set up near the glacier front. A day-long boat trip amongst numerous icebergs and spectacular fold-thrust belt structures highlighted the second day. The next three days were spent hiking near Cerro FitzRoy and Lago Viedma, experiencing glacial geomorphology and Andean geology up close. Then, after crossing into Chile, two days were spent in Torres del Paine National Park in the heart of the Patagonian Batholith. This was followed by a recuperative night in a hotel in Punta Arenas, the southernmost mainland city in South America.
The following morning the group ferried across the Straits of Magellan to Tierra del Fuego and soon crossed back into Argentina. The first night on the island was spent on the shore of Lago Fagnano, an elongate lake situated in a pull-apart basin developed along the plate boundary between the South American and Scotia plates. The final two nights of camping were spent at Tierra del Fuego National Park, near Ushuaia, the worlds southernmost city. Activities included a boat cruise on the Beagle Channel hikes that examined the stratigraphy of the Cordillera Darwin, bird-watching, and shopping. The farewell dinner was held at a restaurant in Ushuaia. After a final night in a hotel, the group returned to Buenos Aires and boarded their return flight to Miami.