The Drumlin field makes its appearance 46 kilometres north of Punta Arenas along route 9, cornered by Cabeza del Mar lagoon. They crawl through the infinite Patagonian steppe, easily noticeable as their curved, synchronized, backsides contrast sharply with the flat pampa. They appear grouped and organised, in a frozen movement facing towards the northeast.
They are part of our road landscapes, interaction with them is limited to the observing the frame they make through the moving window. Partly a hidden landscape, as we ignore their existence during our fast transit. Land itself has forgotten them, petrifying their act of escape while we perpetuate their oblivion at the side of route 9.
These geo-forms were created by the grand glaciers, who advanced from the Patagonian Andes to the west towards the Atlantic Ocean across over 300 kilometres. The Great Patagonian Glaciation (GPG) occurred over one million years ago, however, it is believed that Ice reached the ocean multiple times during the past six million years.
After the GPC, the glacial advances were progressively decreasing, until the Late Glacial Maximum, 25000 years ago. The retreat of this last ice margin is responsible for many of the glacial morphologies decorating our landscapes, drumlins or whalebacks among them.
The exact process that creates drumlins remains an enigma; no consensus has been reached among the experts, leaving only hypotheses. This is because this strange deposition challenges the horizontal reality below ice. If our eyes could see the water that flows between a glacier and the sediments at its base, we could perhaps understand the curious shapes formed by subterranean rivers.
This happens after glaciers reach their maximum and start their retreat, the ice that flows downhill is not enough to feed the ice tongue while temperature is increasing and melting the shallow layers, creating rivers on the surface of the glacier.
These rivers search for a way to reach the ground through cracks and moulins, lubricating the ice-rock interphase. The great mass of ice tries to clutch to the land with its fingertips while fighting against its slippery retreat, leaving these long mounts behind as a witness of their anguished withdraw.