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Pio XI Glacier, Chile

04 November 2016

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Part of Chile's Bernardo O'Higgins National Park in southern Chile is pictured in this Landsat-8 image from 8 January 2016.

The park includes much of the Southern Patagonian Ice Field - the world's second largest contiguous ice field beyond the poles.

Classified as an expanse of ice covering less than 50,000 sq km, ice fields are formed by a large 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.

One of the main attractions in this area is the Brüggen Glacier, also known as Pío XI Glacier, 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 advancing north and south.

Bernardo O'Higgins National Park

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Discover more about our planet with the Earth from Space video programme. Join ESA every Friday at 10:00 CEST for an 800 km-high tour with spectacular images from Earth-observing satellites.

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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.

The Earth Watching website features not only imagery of natural disasters, but also promotes various satellite remote sensing applications through images and articles. Some examples are shown in the special events part of the website.

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