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Archive for November 26th, 2009

Barguzin Nature Preserve by Lake Baikal, Russia

53.1N 107.6E

November 26th, 2009 Category: Lakes, Rivers

Russia - October 5th, 2009

Russia - October 5th, 2009

Several snow-capped mountain ridges surround Lake Baikal, in Russian Siberia, in this image taken in early autumn.  Flanking the northwest shores of the lake are the mountains of the Baikal Range, whose highest peak reaches 2572 meters, while the southern shores are framed by the Hamar-Daban Mountains.

Along the northeastern shores is the Barguzin Range, who tallest summits reach 2840 meters. Located on the west slope of the range, including the northeast shores of Lake Baikal and a part of the lake itself, is the Barguzin Nature Reserve. The name of the preserve (and the range) comes from the Barguzin River.

The area of the reserve is 2,482 km² (992.8 square miles). It was created in 1916 to preserve and increase the numbers of Barguzin Sable (Martes zibellina). Mountainous and taiga landscapes are also being preserved.

Volcanoes on Coastal Plain of El Salvador – November 26th, 2009

13.4N 88.1W

November 26th, 2009 Category: Image of the day, Volcanoes

El Salvador - November 14th, 2009

El Salvador - November 14th, 2009

Many volcanic peaks dot the landscape of central-eastern El Salvador, to the east of the Lempa River and north of Jiquilisco Bay, in this orthorectified image. To the east of these clusters of volcanoes is San Miguel, the fourth most populous city in El Salvador.

San Miguel is also the name of the stratovolcano located about 15km southwest of the city. The volcano, also known as Chaparrastique, is one of the most active volcanoes in the country.

North of the San Miguel volcano is Chinameca (also known as El Pacayal), a stratovolcano that rises over the town of Chinameca. The volcano is topped by a 2 km wide caldera known as Laguna Seca del Pacayal. A satellite cone on the west side, Cerro el Limbo, rises higher than the caldera rim. Fumaroles can be found on the north side, and it has been the site of a geothermal exploration program.

Continuing westward, the large stratovolcano Usulután can be identified as the peak on the coastal plain closest to the bay. The volcano is topped by a 1.3 km wide summit crater which is breached to the east.

West of Usulután is the Taburete stratovolcano. It is topped by a well-preserved, 150-300 m (500–1000 ft) deep summit crater, with the true summit on the south side of the crater rim.

Desert of Rub’ al Khali on the Arabian Peninsula

19.7N 49.9E

November 26th, 2009 Category: Snapshots

Saudi Arabia - November 16th, 2009

Saudi Arabia - November 16th, 2009

The southern half of the Arabian Peninsula, including Yemen, southern Saudi Arabia and Qatar, as well as parts of the United Arab Emirates and Oman, are visible here. Much of the area is occupied by the sand desert known as the Rub’ al Khali, or “Empty Quarter” in English.

It is one of the largest sand deserts in the world, encompassing most of the southern third of the Arabian Peninsula, including areas of all the countries mentioned above, with the exception of Qatar. In total, the desert covers some 650,000 square kilometres (250,000 sq mi). It is 1,000 kilometres (620 mi) long, and 500 kilometres (310 mi) wide.

Summer temperatures of nearly 55 °C (131 °F) and dunes over 330 metres (1,100 ft) make Rub’ al Kali one of the most forbidding environments on Earth. Geologically, the Empty Quarter is the second most oil-rich place in the world. Vast oil reserves have been discovered underneath the sand dunes.

Colors of Lake Mackay, Western Australia

22.5S 128.6E

November 26th, 2009 Category: Lakes

Australia - November 24th, 2009

Australia - November 24th, 2009

Lake Mackay is one of hundreds of dry lakebeds scattered throughout Western Australia and the Northern Territory. In addition to the lake, the image also shows the dry appearance of Western Australia’s Great Sandy Desert, Gibson Desert, and Tanami Desert.

Lake Mackay measures approximately 60 miles (100 kilometers) east-west and north-south. The lake is the largest in Western Australia and has a surface area of 3,494 square kilometres (1,349 sq mi).

In this arid environment, salts and other minerals are carried to the surface through capillary action caused by evaporation, thereby producing the white reflective surface.

The darker, greyish areas of the lakebed are indicative of some form of desert vegetation or algae, some moisture within the soils of the dry lake, and the lowest elevations where pooling of water occurs.

The orange dots, on the other hand, are hills scattered across the eastern half of the lake and east-west-oriented sand ridges south of the lake.