Lake-level variations and tides in Lago Argentino, Patagonia: insights from pressure tide gauge records


  • Andreas Richter | Technische Universität Dresden, Germany.
  • Eric Marderwald Universidad Nacional de La Plata, Argentina.
  • José L. Hormaechea Estación Astronómica Río Grande, Argentina.
  • Luciano Mendoza Universidad Nacional de La Plata, Argentina.
  • Raúl Perdomo Universidad Nacional de La Plata, Argentina.
  • Gerardo Connon Estación Astronómica Río Grande, Argentina.
  • Mirko Scheinert Technische Universität Dresden, Germany.
  • Martin Horwath Technische Universität Dresden, Germany.
  • Reinhard Dietrich Technische Universität Dresden, Germany.


Based on precise pressure tide gauge observations lake-level records are derived for two sites in Lago Argentino, southern Patagonia, of 2.5 and 1 years of duration. Applying the tools of time series analysis, the principal processes affecting the lake level are identified and quantified. Lake-level changes reflecting variations in lake volume are dominated by a seasonal cycle of 1.2 m in amplitude. Lake-volume changes occur in addition with a daily period in response to melt water influx from surrounding glaciers. Sporadic lake-volume jumps are caused by bursting of the ice dam of Perito Moreno glacier. Water movements in Lago Argentino are dominated by surface seiches reaching 20 cm in amplitude. Lake tides reach a maximum amplitude of 3 mm. The comparison of the tidal signal extracted from the lake-level observations with a model composed of the contributions of body tide and ocean tidal loading indicates a phase shift of 23° which is most likely explained by an 1 hour phase lag of global ocean tide models in the region of the highly fragmented Pacific coast. The comparison of the obtained results with those of a previous study of Lago Fagnano, Tierra del Fuego, allows to relate differences in the hydrological and hydrodynamic processes between both lakes to morphological properties. This leads to a tentative prediction of the lake-level variability to be expected from other great Patagonian lakes. The presented geodetic results shall serve as a starting point for a detailed limnological investigation of these aquatic ecosystems.



PlumX Metrics


Download data is not yet available.


Original Articles
Supporting Agencies
German Research Foundation DFG, Subsecretaría de Recursos Hídricos, Buenos Aires, Servicio Meteorológico Nacional, Parque Nacional Los Glaciares, Prefectura Naval Lago Argentino, El Calafate
Hydrodynamics, lake level, surface seiches, tide gauge, Patagonia.
  • Abstract views: 4068

  • PDF: 851
  • HTML: 1698
How to Cite
Richter A, Marderwald E, Hormaechea JL, Mendoza L, Perdomo R, Connon G, Scheinert M, Horwath M, Dietrich R. Lake-level variations and tides in Lago Argentino, Patagonia: insights from pressure tide gauge records. J Limnol [Internet]. 2015 Aug. 12 [cited 2021 Jun. 24];75(1). Available from:

Most read articles by the same author(s)