The Moraleda Channel in the Patagonian Andes

The Moraleda Channel in the Patagonian Andes. Today’s Image of the Day from NASA Earth Observatory features an astronaut’s view of the Moraleda Channel in the northern Patagonian Andes. This region consists of diverse landscapes, including rivers, lakes, and glacial fjords.

Melimoyu is the large, ice-capped volcano located northeast of the Moraleda Channel, and is part of Chile’s national park system.

According to NASA, the land and water in this photo were entirely covered by ice roughly 25,000 years ago during the last glacial maximum. As massive glaciers retreated, they created interconnected fjords and channels. 

The image was captured on March 25,2020 by an astronaut onboard the International Space Station.

Along their length, the Andes are split into several ranges, separated by intermediate depressions. The Andes are the location of several high plateaus—some of which host major cities such as QuitoBogotáCaliArequipaMedellínBucaramangaSucreMérida and La Paz. The Altiplano plateau is the world’s second-highest after the Tibetan plateau. These ranges are in turn grouped into three major divisions based on climate: the Tropical Andes, the Dry Andes, and the Wet Andes.

The Andes Mountains are the highest mountain range outside Asia. The highest mountain outside Asia, Argentina’s Mount Aconcagua, rises to an elevation of about 6,961 m (22,838 ft) above sea level. The peak of Chimborazo in the Ecuadorian Andes is farther from the Earth’s center than any other location on the Earth’s surface, due to the equatorial bulge resulting from the Earth’s rotation. The world’s highest volcanoes are in the Andes, including Ojos del Salado on the Chile-Argentina border, which rises to 6,893 m (22,615 ft).

Image Credit: NASA Earth Observatory 

By Chrissy Sexton, Earth.com Staff Writer

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