Earth Snapshot RSS Feed Twitter

Posts tagged O’Higgins Lake

Santa Cruz Province, Argentine Patagonia – November 14th, 2009

47.7S 65.8W

November 14th, 2009 Category: Image of the day, Lakes, Rivers

Argentina - September 30th, 2009

Argentina - September 30th, 2009

Santa Cruz is a province of Argentina, located in the southern part of the country, in Patagonia. It borders Chubut province to the north, and Chile to the west and south. To the east is the Atlantic Ocean. It is the second largest province of the country, but the least densely populated of the Argentine mainland.

The average temperatures are 13°C in summer, and 3° in winter, when temperatures can fall to -25°. Strong winds blow all year round.

To the west, the Andes at these latitudes are lower than in the centre and north of Argentina, but still have year-round snow. An immense ice sheet feeds numerous glaciers. Even though precipitation in this western ice-sheet area is common, rain is scarce in other areas, with an average of 200 mm per year.

The lakes in western Santa Cruz province are mostly fed by glacieal melt-water; however, due to the cold climate their shores are not used for agriculture. The largest include Buenos Aires Lake (2,240 km², of which 881 km² is in Argentina), Cardiel Lake (460 km²), Viedma Lake (1082 km²), Argentino Lake (1560 km²), Pueyrredón Lake, Belgrano Lake and San Martín Lake (1.013 km²) are all in the west of the province.

The Atlantic coastline is a mixture of beaches and cliffs. From the centre to the Atlantic coast in the east, plateaux of descending height dominate the landscape. The cold, arid steppe is crossed by rivers that produce fertile valleys; Deseado River, Santa Cruz River, Gallegos River, Coyle River, Chico River and Pinturas River.

Here, the Deseado River can be seen crossing the upper half of the image horizontally and spilling greenish sediments into the Atlantic Ocean. Its source is the glacier-thaw of Buenos Aires Lake, visible as a large, dark blue body of water due west of the river along the mountainous border with Chile.

Further down the shoreline, the Santa Cruz and Chico Rivers create a large delta from which more sediments flow into the ocean. The source of the Santa Cruz Rivers begins at the shore of the Viedma and Argentino Lakes (both visible although partially covered by clouds west of the delta.

Lakes in Patagonia: Buenos Aires-General Carrera and San Martín-O’Higgins – May 8th, 2009

May 8th, 2009 Category: Image of the day, Lakes

Patagonia - April 13th, 2009

Patagonia - April 13th, 2009

Several lakes in Patagonia, near the mountainous border between Chile (left) and Argentina (right) stand out amidst the brown landscape.

The dark blue lake near the center shared by the two countries; it is known as Buenos Aires Lake in Argentina and General Carrera Lake in Chile.

The lake has a surface of 1,850 km², of which 970 km² are in the Chilean Aisén Region, and 880 km² in the Argentine Santa Cruz Province. This makes it the biggest lake in Chile and the fourth largest in Argentina.  In its western basin,  the lake’s depth reaches 586 meters.

The lake is of glacial origin and is surrounded by the Andes mountain range, with a strip of plains on the Argentina side. Although the weather in this area of Chile and Argentina is generally cold and humid, the lake itself and surrounding coastal areas have a sunny microclimate.

The lake drains to the Pacific Ocean on the west through the Baker River. However, there’s also an intermittent stream from the lake that heads east called Fénix Chico, which joins the Deseado River, and eventually reaches the Atlantic Ocean.

Further south, a bright turquoise lake can be seen. This lake also has a double name; it is known as O’Higgins in Chile and San Martín in Argentina. Its surface is of 1,058 km² at 250 metres above mean sea level, and it has a 525 kilometer long shoreline.

The lake is the deepest in the Americas with a maximum depth of 836 metres near the O’Higgins Glacier, and its characteristic milky light-blue color comes from rock flour suspended in its waters. It is mainly fed by the Mayer River and other streams, and its outlet Pascua River discharges water from the lake towards the Pacific Ocean.

The Southern Patagonian Ice Sheet extends from the lake for 330 kilometres to the Viedma Lake and Argentino Lake (both visible to the South, partially veiled by clouds).