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Lakes in New Zealand’s Mackenzie Basin – November 10th, 2009

44.1S 170.1E

November 10th, 2009 Category: Image of the day, Lakes, Rivers

New Zealand - October 22nd, 2009

New Zealand - October 22nd, 2009

The bright blue waters of several lakes stand out against the snowy white peaks of the Southern Alps on New Zealand’s South Island. These lakes are in the Mackenzie Basin, an elliptical intermontane basin, located in the Mackenzie and Waitaki Districts.

The largest such basin in the country, it extends approximately 100 kilometers (62 miles) north to south, and 40 kilometers (25 miles) east to west. The Southern Alps constitute its western edge. Aside from a few mountain passes, the terrain is generally highest at the northern end and gradually descends in a southward direction.

Prominent rivers crossing the Mackenzie Basin include the Waitaki, the Ahuriri, the Hakataramea and the Tekapo Rivers. Lakes Ohau, Pukaki, Alexandrina and Tekapo lie within the Mackenzie Basin, as do the artificial hydroelectric lakes of Ruataniwha, Benmore and Aviemore.

Here, moving diagonally downward from the  upper right is the bright turquoise Lake Tekapo, followed by Lake Pukaki and finally by the slightly darker turquoise Lake Ohau. South of these three is the artificial Lake Benmore. Outside the basin, the dark blue Lakes Hawea (right) and Wanaka (left) are visible near the left edge of the image.

Bright Blue Glacial Lakes of New Zealand’s South Island

44S 170.1E

January 11th, 2012 Category: Lakes

New Zealand - January 10th, 2012

The three bright blue, roughly parallel lakes in this image of New Zealand’s South Island are (from left to right): Lake Oahu, Lake Pukaki and Lake Tekapo. They are all alpine glacial lakes in the Mackenzie Basin, near the Southern Alps. The bright blue color comes from “glacial flour”, the extremely finely ground rock particles from glaciers feeding into the lakes.

Lake Oahu is the smallest of the three, with a surface area of 60 km². Lake Tekapo is the second-largest, covering an area of 83 km². Lake Pukaki is the largest of the three, covering an area of 178.7 km². Visible at the lake’s northern end is the Tasman River.

 

Glacial Lakes Near Southern Alps, New Zealand – December 10th, 2011

44S 170.1E

December 10th, 2011 Category: Image of the day, Lakes, Rivers

New Zealand - November 25th, 2011

Three roughly parallel alpine glacial lakes in the Mackenzie Basin of New Zealand’s South Island appear bright hues of blue and green in this image (from left to right): Lake Oahu, Lake Pukaki and Lake Tekapo.

All three lakes were created when the terminal moraines of receding glaciers blocked their respective valleys, forming moraine-dammed lakes. The glacial feed to the lakes gives them a distinctive blue colour, created by glacial flour, the extremely finely ground rock particles from the glaciers.

Lake Oahu is fed by the Hopkins and Dobson rivers, which have their headwaters in the Southern Alps. It is the smallest of the three, with a surface area of 60 km².

Lake Pukaki is the largest of the three, covering an area of 178.7 km². The lake is fed at its northern end by the braided Tasman River, which has its source in the Tasman and Hooker Glaciers, close to Aoraki/Mount Cook.

Lake Tekapo is the second-largest, covering an area of 83 km2. The lake is fed at its northern end by the braided Godley River, which has its source in the Southern Alps to the north.

A Look at Both Sides of the Southern Alps, New Zealand

43.6S 170.6E

March 24th, 2011 Category: Mountains, Sediments

New Zealand - March 22nd, 2011

The Southern Alps run down the middle of New Zealand’s South Island, providing a sort of “backbone”. In this image, snow and clouds are present on the eastern side of the ridge, while the western side is clear.

Along the west coast, several rivers can be seen spilling sediments into the  Tasman Sea. Sediments are also present along the northern coastline, pouring into the Cook Strait. In the full image, sediments and/or algae can be seen giving a bright blue color to several glacial lakes in the Mackenzie Basin, at the eastern foot of the Alps.

 

Lakes by the Southern Alps on New Zealand’s South Island – December 9th, 2010

44.6S 169.2E

December 9th, 2010 Category: Image of the day, Lakes

New Zealand - December 8th, 2010

Various lakes of different colors can be observed near the Southern Alps in this image of New Zealand’s South Island. The bright blue lakes in the upper right quadrant are located in the Mackenzie Basin.

Here, moving diagonally downward from the  upper right is the bright blue Lake Tekapo, followed by bright turquoise Lake Pukaki and finally by the medium blue Lake Ohau. South of these three is the artificial Lake Benmore (best observed in the full image).

Continuing to the southwest beyond the limits of the basin, the dark blue Lakes Hawea (right) and Wanaka (left) can be observed. Southwest of those two is Lake Wakatipu, medium blue with a reverse “N” shape.