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Los Glaciares National Park, Argentina

10 April 2015

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Part of the Southern Patagonian Ice Field - the world's second largest contiguous extrapolar ice field - and two lakes are pictured in this Landsat-8 image of Argentina's Los Glaciares National Park, acquired on 28 February 2014.

The park was named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1981, is situated in the area around Lake Viedma (top of image) and the country's largest freshwater Lake Argentino (below). Both are fed by water from melting glaciers and by rivers and their unique colour is attributed to 'glacier milk': suspended fine sediment produced by the abrasion of glaciers rubbing against rock.

The majority of the nearly 50 big glaciers fed by the Patagonian Ice Field in the park have been retreating during the last 50 years because of warming temperatures. In the upper left we can see the Viedma Glacier feeding Lake Viedma. To its south is the Upsala Glacier, which has retreated more than 3 km in the past 15 years.

At the centre-bottom of the image is the Perito Moreno glacier, the most famous glacier in the park because of its rupture process, and one of the few not retreating or advancing but appearing to be in equilibrium, going through cycles of retreats and advances.

Los Glaciares National Park

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The Earth Watching project is an ESA/ESRIN service to help local authorities and to promote the benefits of remote sensing data during emergencies, sending images and articles to newspapers, magazines and TV stations.

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