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The Kid Should See This

Perito Moreno Glacier, entropy, and The Arrow of Time

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Sit with Professor Brian Cox in the Antarctic winds that whip across this part of Patagonia, Argentina‘s Los Glaciares National Park. This is where Perito Moreno Glacier calves into Lago Argentino. It’s a helpful demonstration of the Arrow of Time: “a concept that tells us why sequences happen in the order they do.”

“The glacier is such a massive expanse of ice, but at first sight, just like the cycles of the heavens, it appears fixed and unchanging. Yet, seen close up, it’s continually on the move as it has been for tens of thousands of years.”

Can you see Brian Cox?

“The whole face of the glacier is moving into the lake… that means that well over a quarter of a billion tons of ice drop off the face of the glacier into the lake every year. It’s a million tons a day, and you can hear it happening. Just every now and again, you hear this tremendous cracking sound. It really is like this place is alive… It’s an incredibly dynamic place to be.”

And, of course, this calving could never happen in reverse. From wikipedia:

“Entropy is the only quantity in the physical sciences… that requires a particular direction for time… Hence, from one perspective, entropy measurement is a way of distinguishing the past from the future.”

Perito Moreno Glacier up close
The power, the beauty, and the reckoning of irreversible change. Next, watch Entropy: How a sandcastle reveals the end of all things.

Bonus: A chunk of the Perito Moreno Glacier’s ice-sheet breaks off and flips.

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