Largest tropical glacier in the world

QUELCCAYA // Tropical Glacier
PERU, Cordillera Vilcanota.

The Quelccaya ice cap has a surface of 40 km2, it is the largest tropical glacier in the world. It is located on the border of the Cuzco and Puno regions, at an elevation between 5300 and 5680 meters, in Peru. One section of Quelccaya is located within the territorial domains of the peasant community of Phinaya, in the district of Pitumarca, in the province of Canchis, in Cuzco. The other section is located in the rural community of Quelccaya, in the district of Corani, in the province of Macusani, in Puno.

Because glaciers accumulate precipitation each year, they are exceptional archives of past atmospheric conditions. While ice records at the poles are older than those in the tropics, traces of the broader dynamics of the global climate system can only be captured in tropical ice. Indeed, ice sheets contain very clear physical and chemical data that allow us to reconstruct past atmospheric processes very accurately.

According to recent estimates, 99% of tropical glaciers are found in the Andes and 70% in Peru.  Due to its large , the Quelccaya ice presents a higher resolution record of these data than other glaciers.

audio >
Directeur de la rédaction
Philosophie Magazine.

Auteur de "Au coeur de la nature blessée" (Allary éditions, 2023)