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The lake known as O'Higgins in Chilemarker and San Martín in Argentinamarker, is located around coordinates in the Patagonia, between the Aysén Regionmarker and the Santa Cruz Provincemarker.

Its surface is of 1,058 km² at 250 metres above mean sea level, and has a shoreline length of 525 km. The lake is the deepest in the Americas with a maximum depth of 836 metres near O'Higgins Glaciermarker, and its characteristic milky light-blue color comes from rock flour suspended in its waters. It's mainly fed by the Mayer River and other streams, and its outlet Pascua River discharges water from the lake towards the Pacific Oceanmarker at a rate of 510 m³/s.The Southernmarker Patagonian Ice Sheet extend from the lake for 330 kilometres to the Viedma Lakemarker and Argentino Lakemarker. The O'Higgins Glacier flows eastwards towards the lake, as does the Chico Glacier.

Immigrants did not settle in the arid windy area around the lake until the 1910s, when Britishmarker, Scandinavian and Swissmarker started raising sheep for wool.

The most common tourist path visiting the lake is that between El Chalténmarker in Argentina and Villa O'Higginsmarker in Chile, including a ferry through the lake on the Chilean side.


Being the most irregular of the lakes in the area, consisting of eight well defined arms, the name San Martín is sometimes used to refer only to the Argentine side, and O'Higgins to the 4 Chilean arms. Both names come from independence heroes José de San Martín of Argentina and Bernardo O'Higgins of Chile, who even fought together for the liberation of Chile, and became to be known as Liberators of America together with other South American figures.

The 4 Argentine arms of the lake, with an area of 521 km², are named Cancha Rayada, Chacabuco, Maipú and De la Lancha, after battles of General San Martín,


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