Chile’s Bernardo O’Higgins National Park includes much of the Southern Patagonian Ice Field, the world’s second-largest contiguous ice field beyond the poles. Classified as an expanse of ice covering less than 50,000 square kilometers, ice fields are formed by a large accumulation of snow that turns into ice with years of compression and freezing. Shaped by the underlying topography, glaciers often form at the edges of an ice field, draining the ice off.
One of the main attractions in this area is the Brüggen Glacier, also known as Pío XI Glacier, visible in the lower left corner of this image captured by the Landsat-8 satellite. This is the longest glacier in the southern hemisphere outside Antarctica, and unlike most glaciers, it has been growing, first reaching the western shore in the 1960s, and then advancing north and south.
Just above this glacier is Lake Greve, which appears lighter in this false-color image compared to other water bodies. This is due to the presence of suspended fine sediment in the water produced by the abrasion of glaciers rubbing against rock, called “glacier milk.” Another notable geological feature in this area is the active, ice-covered Lautaro Volcano in the lower-central part of the image.