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  Image: Geographic Location Direction Photo #: ISS013-E-6947 Date: Apr. 2006
Geographic Region: ARGENTINA

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  Viedma Glacier, Argentina

The icefields of Patagonia, located at the southern end of South America, are the largest masses of ice in the temperate Southern Hemisphere (approximately 55,000 square kilometers). The icefields contain numerous valley glaciers that terminate in meltwater-fed lakes. These are known as "calving" glaciers, as they lose mass when large ice chunks collapse from the terminus--or end--of the glacier. These newly separated chunks of ice are then free to float away, much like ice cubes in a punch bowl.

The terminus of the Viedma Glacier, approximately 2 kilometers across where it enters Lake Viedma, is shown in this astronaut photograph. Moraines are accumulations of soil and rock debris that form along the sides and front of a glacier as it flows across the landscape (much like a bulldozer). Independent valley glaciers can merge together as they flow down slope, and the moraines become entrained in the center of the new ice mass. These medial moraines are visible as dark parallel lines within the white central mass of the glacier (image center and left). Crevasses--oriented at right angles to the medial moraines--are also visible in the grey-brown ice along the sides of the glacier. The canyon-like crevasses form as a result of stress between the slower moving ice along the valley sides (where there is greater friction) and the more rapidly moving ice in the center of the glacier. Calving of ice from the southwestern fork of the glacier terminus is visible at image lower left.

As they respond to regional climate change, the Patagonian glaciers are closely monitored using remotely sensed data. Scientists compare series of images collected over time to monitor the change in ice extent and position. Scientists have also estimated changes in volume using topographic data from NASA's Shuttle Radar Topography Mission. The Global Land Ice Measurements from Space (GLIMS) Website is an excellent resource for glacier-monitoring information.

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Images: All Available Images Low-Resolution 235k
Mission: ISS013  
Roll - Frame: E - 6947
Geographical Name: ARGENTINA  
Center Lat x Lon: 49.5S x 73W
Film Exposure:   N=Normal exposure, U=Under exposed, O=Over exposed, F=out of Focus
Percentage of Cloud Cover-CLDP: 10
Camera: E4
Camera Tilt: 28   LO=Low Oblique, HO=High Oblique, NV=Near Vertical
Camera Focal Length: 800  
Nadir to Photo Center Direction: N   The direction from the nadir to the center point, N=North, S=South, E=East, W=West
Stereo?:   Y=Yes there is an adjacent picture of the same area, N=No there isn't
Orbit Number: 2285  
Date: 20060412   YYYYMMDD
Time: 193838   GMT HHMMSS
Nadir Lat: 51.2S  
Latitude of suborbital point of spacecraft
Nadir Lon: 73.3W  
Longitude of suborbital point of spacecraft
Sun Azimuth: 316   Clockwise angle in degrees from north to the sun measured at the nadir point
Space Craft Altitude: 191   nautical miles
Sun Elevation: 20   Angle in degrees between the horizon and the sun, measured at the nadir point
Water Views: FRONT, ICE, LAKE  
Atmosphere Views:  
Man Made Views:  
City Views:  
Photo is not associated with any sequences

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