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Northern Ice Cap, Patagonia - 5 Quick Facts

1. The Northern Patagonian Ice Field, located in southern Chile, is the smaller of two remnant parts in which the Patagonian Ice Sheet in the Andes Mountains of lower South America can be divided

2. It is completely contained within the boundaries of Laguna San Rafael National Park

3. Today, with its' glaciers largely in retreat and only an area of 4,200 km sq, it is still the largest continuous mass of ice outside of the Polar Regions

4. The ice field has 28 exit glaciers, the largest two - San Quintin & San Rafael nearly reach sea level to the west at the Pacific Ocean. Smaller exit glaciers, like San Valentin & Nef, feed numerous rivers & glacially carved lakes to the east

5. The Northern Patagonian Ice Field lost 93 km sq (36 sq mi) of glacier area during the years between 1945 and 1975, and 174 km sq (67 sq mi) from 1975 to 1996, which indicates that the rate of retreat is increasing