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Buenos Aires on the Shoreline of the Sediment-Laden Rio de la Plata Estuary

34.6S 58.3W

November 2nd, 2009 Category: Rivers

Argentina - September 24th, 2009

Argentina - September 24th, 2009

While the surrounding Argentinian and Uruguayan landscapes take on a greener color as spring begins in the southern hemisphere, the Rio de la Plata pours thick brown sediments into the Atlantic Ocean.

The Rio de la Plata is created by the convergence of two other rivers: the Paraná River (left) and the Uruguay (right), both of which flow southwards from the top of the image. On the southern shores of the innermost part of the Rio de la Plata estuary, the city of Buenos Aires can also be seen.

Southern Italy, Between the Tyrrhenian and Adriatic Seas and the Gulf of Taranto

40.4N 16.4E

November 17th, 2009 Category: Lakes

Italy - October 7th, 2009

Italy - October 7th, 2009

The terrain of southern Italy appears divided in two, between the flatter lands near the Adriatic Coast (above) and the more mountainous terrain towards Tyrrhenian Sea (below).

Upon opening the full image, many cities and towns in the Apulia region appear as tan circular areas on the flatter Adriatic side. The main exception to this generally plain-like topography is the Gargano Peninsula (top left corner), home to Monte Gargano.

Also of note on the peninsula are Lake Lesina  (left) and Lake Varano (right), both dark green, separated from the Adriatic by a thin strip of land and dunes. Sediments line the coast of the peninsula, particularly to the right. Other swirls of sediments are also visible in the full image along the shores of the Gulf of Taranto (right).

Continuing to the right along the shoreline, towns cities such as Bari appear as tan patches amidst the green terrain. On the bottom right, by Apulia’s border with the Basilicata Region, the Basento River spills tan sediments into the Gulf of Taranto.

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Huge Blackout in Brazil and Paraguay – November 11th, 2009

November 11th, 2009 Category: Image of the day, Rivers

Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay - November 10th, 2009

Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay - November 10th, 2009

A problem with the Itaipú hydroelectric power plant plunged Paraguay and large parts of central-western and south-eastern Brazil into darkness on Tuesday night, virtually paralyzing the two countries. Experts are debating whether or not lightning and heavy winds and rains from a large atmospheric disturbance were responsibile for the blackout.

Power was being restored to Brazilian cities early Wednesday, while it was restored to Paraguay about 20 minutes after the initial loss. The power failure knocked out electricity in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Brasília, Belo Horizonte and almost 800 other cities in 10 Brazilian states. It it also forced the shutdown of major airports in Rio and São Paulo, as well as the São Paulo metro system.

Itaipú, the world’s largest operational hydroelectric power plant, straddles the border between Brazil and Paraguay. Representatives of Itaipu Binacional claim that the blackout was not caused by a problem with the hydroelectic power plant itself, but by a fault in the system that transmits electricity.

Brazilian government officials, including the Minister of Mines and Energy, originally blamed the blackout on a lightening bolt and/or strong winds and rains from a large atmospheric disturbance hitting a 750 kilovolt electrical transmission line between Ivaiporã (in the state of Paraná) and Tijuco Preto (state of São Paulo).

However, the Brazilian National Meteorology Institute (INMET) stated that the sky was heavily cloudy and prone to lightening strikes only between 1:00PM and 4:00PM, during which time this image was taken, and had cleared well before the start of the blackout at 10:10PM. Here the storm is visible covering the Itaipú Dam near the triple border between Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina around 1:40PM on Tuesday.

The Paraná River, on which the dam is located, runs southward out from under the clouds, then east into the sediment-filled Rio de la Plata estuary. The cities of Buenos Aires and Montevideo can be seen on the shores nearby. Upon opening the full image, more of Brazil and Paraguay are visible to the north, above the clouds.

Dust and Phytoplankton off Coast of Argentina

37.9S 57.5W

November 7th, 2009 Category: Dust Storms

Dust and Phytoplankton of Argentine Coast - November 5th, 2009

Dust and Phytoplankton of Argentine Coast - November 5th, 2009

A plume of dust blows off the coast of Argentina, between Pinamar and Mar del Plata, south of Buenos Aires and the sediment-laden Rio de la Plata estuary. The plume widens as it spreads eastward, eventually forking in two off the coast. One part then curves back towards land, while the other blows southeast and then to the northwest.

Also visible is a phytoplankton bloom in the waters of the Atlantic Ocean. Part of the bloom is veiled by the dust, while more can be observed to the south. Off the coast of Argentina, the Malvinas Current travels north along the continental shelf. Its motion pulls deep, cold nutrient rich waters up to the surface. These waters act as a natural fertilizer for the production of the phytoplankton.