Richard Harwood

Chile - 2001

Gabriel Channel

Gabriel Channel

On the morning of the 16th we passed through the Gabriel Channel. The Gabriel Channel is a particularly narrow channel between Anxious Point on Tierra del Fuego and Dawson Island. The channel, like many of the passages around Tierra del Fuego, is a fjord. And like many of the areas that we visited, it was an excellent place to see some of the many landforms that develop in response to glacial erosion and cold climates. These included cirques (bowl-like depressions formed from erosion by a small, cirque glacier), hanging valleys (small, side valleys that were cut by smaller glaciers which then merged with a larger glacier), avalanche chutes (areas where the trees have been wiped out by a past snow avalanche) and landslides (areas of mass movement of the ground or soil). And, at the east end of the channel was the impressive Mt. Rudolphy.

We were visiting this area during the Southern Hemisphere's spring. Temperatures were rising and the snow and ice were melting. As a result, we saw numerous waterfalls along the Gabriel Channel and other areas. In some cases there were multiple waterfalls and cascades coming from the Darwin Ice Sheet (the large mass of ice and glaciers which caps much of Tierra del Fuego).