PATAGONIAN ICEFIELDS


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Published: February 21st 2016
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PATAGONIA ICEFIELDS
4th February Amalia Glacier5th February PIO XI Glacier After leaving Punta Arenas we sailed out through the Magellan Strait passage towards the Pacific Ocean. After passing the Island Evangelistas we turn into Nelson Strait, then onward through the Sarmiento pass into the Amalia fijord. Both the glaciers in the icefield are part of the largest reserve of fresh water after Antarctica and Arctic.
Amalia Glacier, also known as Skua Glacier, is a tidewater glacier located on the edge of the Sarmiento Channel. The glacier originates in the Southern Patagonian Icefield. From 1945 to 1986, its terminus retreated 4.3 miles being, along with the recession of the O'Higgins Glacier, the most dramatic retreat of the glaciers of the mentioned icefield during that period. The glacier partially surrounds Reclus volcano and erodes the northern flank of it.
We sailed to within half a mile from its face and spent some three hours in the fijord, the amount of ice, all of a very blue colour was spectacular.On leaving we sailed out via the Pitt Channel towards the next part of the icefield. Entering Concepcion Channel early on the 5th February we sailed towards the PIO XI glacier the Wide Channel and Icy Channel arriving at about 9am.
Pío XI Glacier is the largest western outflow from the Southern Patagonian Icefield. Now about 41 miles in length, it is the longest glacier in the southern hemisphere outside of Antarctica. Unlike most glaciers worldwide, it advanced significantly from 1945 to 1976, also known as Brüggen surged 3.1 miles across the Eyre Fjord reaching the western shore by 1962 and cutting off Lake Greve from the sea. The glacier continued advancing both northward and southward in the fjord to near its present position before stabilising. The growth covers a distance of more than 6.2 miles north to south, adding nearly 23 sq miles of ice. The glacier is named after the German geologist Juan Brüggen Messtorff. It certainly is a huge natural sight, with some 100m of visible height. The huge moraines show how much pressure has been priced in its advancement.The pictures will probably not due the spectacular scenes justice, seeing the waterfall on the Romanche glacier was quite stunning. The colours of blues caused by the glacial sediments are again stunning.
After a few hours here, it was back through the fijords for our northerly sail towards the port of Valparaiso and our visit to the city of Santiago.


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