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The Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth
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Astronaut Photography of Earth - Display Record
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IdentificationMission: ISS021 Roll: E Frame: 15243 Mission ID on the Film or image: ISS021
Country or Geographic Name: ARGENTINA
Features: UPSALA GLACIER, ICEBERGS, LAKE ARGENTINO, MORAINES
Center Point Latitude: -49.9 Center Point Longitude: -73.3 (Negative numbers indicate south for latitude and west for longitude)
Stereo: (Yes indicates there is an adjacent picture of the same area)
ONC Map ID: JNC Map ID:
CameraCamera Tilt: High Oblique
Camera Focal Length: 400mm
Camera: N2: Nikon D2Xs
Film: 4288E : 4288 x 2848 pixel CMOS sensor, RGBG imager color filter.
Percentage of Cloud Cover: 10 (0-10)
NadirGMT Date: 20091025 (YYYYMMDD) GMT Time: 205007 (HHMMSS)
Nadir Point Latitude: -50.5, Longitude: -63.5 (Negative numbers indicate south for latitude and west for longitude)
Nadir to Photo Center Direction: West
Sun Azimuth: 275 (Clockwise angle in degrees from north to the sun measured at the nadir point)
Spacecraft Altitude: 186 nautical miles (344 km)
Sun Elevation Angle: 20 (Angle in degrees between the horizon and the sun, measured at the nadir point)
Orbit Number: 2653
CaptionsUpsala Glacier, Argentina
The Southern Patagonian Icefield of Argentina and Chile is the southern remnant of the Patagonia Ice Sheet that covered the southern Andes Mountains during the last ice age. This detailed astronaut photograph illustrates the terminus of one of the icefield’s many spectacular glaciers—Upsala Glacier, located on the eastern side of the icefield. Upsala is the third largest glacier in the icefield, and like most other glaciers in the region, it has experienced significant retreat over the past century.
This image was taken during spring in the Southern Hemisphere, and icebergs were calving from the glacier terminus into the waters of Lago Argentino (Lake Argentina, image right). Two icebergs are especially interesting because they retain fragments of the moraine (rock debris) that forms a dark line along the upper surface of the glacier. The inclusion of the moraine illustrates how land-based rocks and sediment may wind up in ocean sediments far from shore.
Moraines are formed from rock and soil debris that accumulate along the front and sides of a flowing glacier. The glacier is like a bulldozer that pushes soil and rock in front of it, leaving debris on either side. When two glaciers merge (image center), moraines along their edges can join to form a medial moraine that is drawn out along the upper surface of the new glacier.
The moraine can be carried intact to the terminus and included in icebergs that then float away, dropping the coarse debris as the iceberg melts. While the icebergs produced by Upsala Glacier do not reach an ocean, many current glaciers do. The existence of ancient glaciers and ice sheets is recorded by layers or pockets of coarse, land-derived sediments within finer-grained sea floor sediments that are located far from any current (or former) coastline.
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Recommended Citation: Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, NASA-Johnson Space Center. "The Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth." .