Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Mike Gerhardt Photos of Patagonia at Starbucks

Mike Gerhardt will be showing photographs from his recent trip to Patagonia at the Starbucks in Barrington starting August 1, 2011. Please give it a look when you are next in the area! The preview photos I've seen are breathtaking!
Below is Mike's descriptive write up the trip.

PATAGNIA is a large region at the southern tip of South America. A small portion (including Tiera del Fuego) is governed by Argentina, with the large majority of the territory being part of Chile. The land area of Patagonia comprises over 1,000,000 square kilometers with a very low population density (under 2 persons per square kilometer). Large areas of semi-desert are used for sheep grazing, but the most distinctive features of the region are the ice fields (the largest in the Southern hemisphere outside of Antarctica) and the accompanying glaciers associated with the southern Andes. There is considerable wild life, including the ubiquitous Guanacos (relative of the lama), Darwin’s Rhea and Magellan Penguins.

Our trip included a cruise through the Straits of Magellan, a navigable route between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans discovered in 1520 as part of Magellan’s global circumnavigation. He named the region Patagonia after the spanish word for “giant” because the native inhabitants were on average ten inches taller then the typical Spanish person of the time (in a later era the indigenous people were hunted to extinction by European sheep herders). At the southernmost tip of Patagonia (and, in fact, of America) lies the notorious Cape Horn (500 miles from the Antarctica mainland and 2,300 miles from the South Pole), famous for the treacherous weather of the Drake Passage.

Careful scientific observation is providing evidence that Patagonian ice sheets and glaciers are receding at an alarming rate, with global warming seen as the prime culprit.
Furthermore, a recent proposal by Chile to build to build five or more large hydro electric dams in Patagonia has been opposed by many environmental groups as a threat to its unique eco-system.

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