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The spectacle of the snow-capped Cordillera de los Andes rising from the plain calls to mind the forming of the earth. The giant rift that split the surface in volcanic eruption was encased in ice millions of years later. That period of glaciation and the living process of glacial formation are visible throughout the Patagonian Andes, most prominently at Parque Nacional Los Glaciares.

While most of the earth's glaciers have been in regression since the end of the Ice Age, there are a few that continue to advance due to the peculiarities of their location and the surrounding climatic and atmospheric conditions. Patagonia is an area where these conditions exist within the same region as volcanoes to the north at Parque Nacional Lanín --truly a land of fire and ice. Left behind, in the lower reaches of the mountains are the deep glacial lakes and streams of Bariloche's lake district and, to the south, Parque Nacional Los Alerces where some of the oldest living trees on earth stand.

These mountains and forests create a habitat for creatures unlike anywhere else. Patagonia's two native deer, the elusive pudú, the world's tiniest deer, inhabits the thick cane forests and the huemul lives above the treeline. Everywhere the land and waters are alive with bird life both common and uncommon, from the magnificent Andean condor, the largest land bird in existence to the southernmost parakeets and hummingbirds.

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