Lying on the shores of General Carrera Lake is the “Marble Cathedral”. This sensational destination is accessible only by boat. The large cave formation was carved and sculpted by nature, with a smaller formation neighboring it being dubbed “The Chapel”. For many visitors to Patagonia, this amazing natural structure is a must-see!
How Were the Marble Wonders of Patagonia Formed
Geologist, Francisco Hervé, talks about the ability of the lake water to dissolve the marble over a period of 10 to 15 thousand years. He explains that the process was this quick because these rocks are composed mainly of calcium carbonate, making them easily soluble. Due to tectonic movements and other factors, the marble developed fractures.
The erosion in these areas was faster, which is how this formation ended up with a curved shape similar to that of a church. Only part of the cathedral is available for visitors to see because a large portion of this beautiful natural structure remains under the water. However, the lake’s sometimes clear enough to reveal a bit more of the formations below. The water level can vary significantly, dropping low enough in the winter to show more of the structure that’s usually below the water.
Carved and Sculpted By Nature
The interior walls of the “Marble Cathedral” are covered in what’s known as “dissolution alveoli” or small cavities and bumps which tells us that the erosion process is still ongoing and this treasured natural formation will continue evolving. Visitors will be able to marvel at the deep turquoise color resonating from the glacial lake that bathes the caverns in ethereal blue, white, and grey. The marble’s scored by streaks of white, blue, and yellow due to different impurities, making the caverns a sight to behold.
The Capillas de Marmol is a natural sanctuary that covers a coastal area of over 123 acres lined with numerous other stunning formations. Anyone Visiting Patagonia can stop by Puerto Rio Tranquilo and use one of the 50 available boats to go see the “Marble Cathedral”.