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Fires Northeast of Mar Chiquita, Argentina – April 19th, 2013

29S 59.9W

April 19th, 2013 Category: Fires, Image of the day

Argentina – April 18th, 2013

Plumes of smoke from fires can be seen in northern Argentina, northeast of the Mar Chiquita (lower left), in the province of Córdoba, and west of the Paraná River (right). In the full image, the precise locations of the fires are indicated by square markers.

Climate Change Affecting Mar Chiquita, Argentina

30.4S 62.7W

February 20th, 2013 Category: Climate Change, Lakes, Salt Flats

Argentina – January 26th, 2013

Salt lakes are formed when the water’s only exit is evaporation. Over time, the saline compounds left behind turn the water brackish. Apart from supporting local fisheries, salt lakes provide an environmental service by regulating the local climate. But they are very sensitive to changes in the rivers that feed them.

Among the largest salt lakes in the world is Mar Chiquita in Argentina (upper left corner). Thanks to climate change, the lake has been profoundly altered, undergoing several changes in the last few decades. Between 1970 and 2000, rainfall increased by 30 percent, resulting in a 30 foot increase in lake level. This caused the salinity to fall from 23 percent to less than 3 percent.

Due to a severe drought in Argentina, this has been reversed in recent years, with a marked reduction in the area of Mar Chiquita. These facts are certainly influenced by the El Niño Southern Oscillation and exacerbated by the uncontrolled extraction of water from Mar Chiquita’s main tributary, the Dulce River. According to studies, the lake level dropped a foot and salinity increased 10 grams per liter during 2008. Reducing the level of Mar Chiquita leaves salt beaches exposed, which as in the case with the Aral Sea, became dust clouds in strong winds (click here for more information).

Dust Blowing Southward off Salt Flats by Mar Chiquita, Argentina

31.3S 62.9W

July 8th, 2012 Category: Dust Storms, Fires, Lakes, Salt Flats

Argentina – July 7th, 2012

Dust, likely composed of salt and other minerals, blows due southward off the salt flats located near the northern shores of Mar Chiquita, a saline lake in the Argentine province of Córdoba. Visible to the northwest are two other large salt flats: the Salinas Grandes. A plume of smoke from a wildfire near the foothills of the Andes can be observed north of those salt flats, at the top left. The smoke is blowing to the south, similar to the dust.

Fire North of Mar Chiquita, Argentina

30.7S 62.8W

June 26th, 2012 Category: Fires, Lakes, Salt Flats

Argentina – June 25th, 2012

A plume of smoke from a fire north of the Mar Chiquita, a saline lake in Córdoba, Argentina, blows northwards and then northwestwards. Some smoke also appears to be hanging in the air just south of the Salinas Grandes, situated to the west of the lake.

Mar Chiquita and Salinas Grandes Salt Flats, Argentina

38.7S 62.9W

April 20th, 2012 Category: Lakes, Salt Flats

Argentina - April 15th, 2012

Visible near the right edge of this image of the Argentine province of Córdoba is the Mar Chiquita, a large salt lake. It is fed primarily by the saline waters of the Dulce River, coming from Santiago del Estero in the north after being joined by the Saladillo River.

The lands around the lower course of the Dulce and Mar Chiquita are wetlands, populated by a large biodiversity (especially aquatic birds). From the southwest the lake receives the flow of the Primero/Suquía and the Segundo/Xanaes rivers, as well as several streams; these inflows vary greatly from dry to rainy seasons.

Salt flats can be seen by the lake’s northern shores. Also visible in the upper left quadrant are the salt flats of the Salinas Grandes, a salt desert in the Córdoba and Santiago del Estero provinces that covers an area of 3,200 mi² (8,290 km²).