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Dust Blowing Off Salar de Pedernales, Chile

23.6S 70.3W

May 28th, 2012 Category: Salt Flats

Chile - May 28th, 2012

The Salar de Pedernales (tan with white edges, center) is a large salt flat in the Atacama Region of Chile. It is located just to the west of the Cordillera de Claudio Gay. Here, that part of the Andes Mountains, east of the salt flat, is covered in snow. Within the salt flat, a small lake still exists that provides a habitat for birds such as the Andean Flamingo. While the appearance of streaked patterns towards the southeast is usual for the salt flat, here the blurred view of the area suggests that there is some airborne dust coming from the salt flat and blowing towards the southeast as well.

Salar de Uyuni and Neighboring Lakes, Bolivia

20.1S 67.5W

May 9th, 2012 Category: Lakes, Salt Flats

Bolivia - May 8th, 2012

The vast Salar de Uyuni appears as a bright white expanse on the Bolivian Altiplano, near the border with Chile. It is the world’s largest salt flat at 10,582 square kilometers (4,086 sq mi).

Just north of the salar is  Lake Poopó, green from sediments and algal growth. It is a large yet shallow lake in Bolivia’s Altiplano Mountains. To its northwest is the larger and deeper Lake Titicaca, dark blue in color, shared by Peru and Bolivia.

 

Milky Blue Glacial Lakes by Chile-Argentina Border

49.5S 72.6W

May 3rd, 2012 Category: Lakes, Mountains

Argentina and Chile - April 28th, 2012

The snow-capped Andes mark the border area between Chile (left) and Argentina (right). Several bright blue glacial lakes can be observed in the middle section of the image, their milky color due to rock flour suspended in their waters. The lakes are, from top to bottom, Lake O’Higgins/San Martín (the former name is used in Chile, the latter in Argentina), Viedma Lake and Argentino Lake.

Lake O’Higgins / San Martín consists of a series of finger-shaped flooded valleys. It has a surface area of 1,058 km² and a shoreline length of 525 km. Viedma Lake is a major elongated trough lake formed from melting glacial ice. It is approximately 50 miles (80 kilometers) long. Argentino Lake is the biggest freshwater lake in Argentina, with a surface area of 1466 km2, an average depth of 150 m, and a maximum depth of 500 m.

Ash and Steam Released from Puyehue-Cordón Caulle Volcano

40.5S 72.1W

March 16th, 2012 Category: Volcanoes

Chile and Argentina - March 7th, 2012

Chile’s Puyehue-Cordón Caulle volcano could be seen releasing ash and steam at the end of the first week of March, 2012. The Chilean National Service of Geology and Mining reported that the plume was 1.2 kilometers (3,900 feet) high, and extended 30 kilometers (19 miles) from the active vent.

Other effects of the eruption can also be observed. Immediately to the east of the volcanic complex is a dark brown area, thick with fallen ash fall that has killed much of the vegetation. Further east are several bright turquoise lakes whose milky color is caused by fine ash suspended in the water. Some lakes show evidence of floating ash and pumice.

Milky Blue Glacier Lakes in Patagonia by Chile-Argentina Border

49.5S 72.6W

February 10th, 2012 Category: Glaciers and Ice Caps, Lakes

Argentina - February 6th, 2012

Glacial lakes appearing bright blue in color can be observed in Patagonia by the Andes Mountains and the border between Chile (west) and Argentina (east). The lakes are, from top to bottom, Lake O’Higgins/San Martín (the former name is used in Chile, the latter in Argentina), Viedma Lake and Argentino Lake.

Lake O’Higgins / San Martín is located between the Aysén Region and the Santa Cruz Province. It has a surface area of 1,058 km², an elevation of 250 metres above mean sea level, and a shoreline length of 525 km. Viewed from above, the lake consists of a series of finger-shaped flooded valleys, of which 554 km² are in Chile and 459 km² in Argentina, although sources differ on the precise split, presumably reflecting water level variability. The lake is the deepest in the Americas with a maximum depth of 836 metres near O’Higgins Glacier, and its characteristic milky light-blue color comes from rock flour suspended in its waters.

Viedma Lake, approximately 50 miles (80 kilometers) long, is a major elongated trough lake formed from melting glacial ice. Lake Viedma is fed primarily by the Viedma Glacier at its the western end. The Viedma Glacier measures 3 miles (5 kilometers) wide at its terminus at Lake Viedma. The brown landscape is a result of ice scouring, which left virtually no vegetation on the steep-walled valleys. Water from lake Viedma flows into Lake Argentino through the La Leona River.

Lago Argentino is the biggest freshwater lake in Argentina, with a surface area of 1466 km2 (maximum width: 20 mi). It has an average depth of 150 m, and a maximum depth of 500 m. The lake lies within the Los Glaciares National Park, in a landscape with numerous glaciers and is fed by the glacial meltwater of several rivers, the water from Lake Viedma brought by the La Leona River, and many mountain streams. Its drainage basin amounts to more than 17000 km2.

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