Last update: December 6th, 2019 at 8:00 am
Once covered by a massive ice sheet about a million years ago, Patagonia now hosts the largest remaining ice field outside of the polar regions. The Patagonian ice fields cover the southern Andes Mountains in Chile (left) and Argentina (right). The land that is now free of snow bears the marks of having been shaped by glaciation. South America’s western coast is crisscrossed with deep blue channels of ocean water. The channels formed when sea levels rose to fill coastal valleys carved out by glaciers. On the east side of the mountains, large lakes fill the depressions where glaciers once extended. The lakes extend onto a flat, dry plateau on which little grows. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this photo-like image on October 3, 2005.
Credit: Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC