Perfect Pío XI Glacier footage -

Perfect Pío XI Glacier footage


This Landsat-8 image from 8 January 2016 shows part of Chile’s Bernardo O’Higgins National Park in southern Chile.

This park plays host to the world’s second largest contiguous ice field beyond the poles the Southern Patagonian Ice Field.

It’s vast expanse covers more than 50 000 sq km, ice fields are formed by a massive accumulation of snow which turns into ice with years of compression and freezing. Shaped by the underlying topography, glaciers often form at the edges of an ice field, draining the ice off.

The Southern Patagonian Ice Field is the larger of two remnant parts of the Patagonian Ice Sheet, which covered all of southern Chile during the last glacial period some 12 000 years ago.

Brüggen Glacier, also known as Pío XI Glacier, is visible in the lower left corner of the image. This is the longest glacier in the southern hemisphere outside Antarctica and has been advancing, first reaching the western shore in the 1960s, and then developing north and south.

Just above this glacier, we can see lighter waters of Lake Greve. This is due to the presence of suspended fine sediment in the water produced by the abrasion of glaciers rubbing against rock, called ‘glacier milk.’

Another feature of this area is the active, ice-covered Lautaro Volcano in the lower-central part of the image.

Credit: European Space Agency

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