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ISS004-E-6737
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Spacecraft nadir point: 51.8° S, 73.8° W

Photo center point: 50.5° S, 73.0° W

Nadir to Photo Center: Northeast

Spacecraft Altitude: 214 nautical miles (396km)
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Image Caption: Outside of Antarctica, the largest contiguous ice field in the Southern
Hemisphere is the Southern Patagonian Ice Field in the Andes Mountains of Chile
and Argentina. It has an area of about 13,000 square kilometers, a length of
approximately 360 kilometers (over three degrees of latitude), and an average
width of about 40 kilometers.

To the west of the ice field, nearly fifty significant outlet glaciers reach
sea level in rugged fiords on the Pacific coast. The largest of these,
Bruggen,
was featured in a previous image on Earth Observatory. East of the
ice field, several of the larger glaciers on the eastern flank form large
piedmont lakes (such as Lago Argentina).

Whether taken on the ground or by remote sensing satellites, scientific
measurements of the ice field and its glaciers are difficult to obtain due to
the rugged terrain and harsh, stormy climate of the region. The estimated loss
of ice mass of this large system is an important indicator of climate
variability on both a local and global scale. Additional information on this
and other Patagonian glaciers may be found at the following link: USGS -

Historic Fluctuations of Outlet Glaciers from the Patagonian Ice Fields