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Salar de Atacama, Chile – December 10th, 2008

December 10th, 2008 Category: Image of the day

Salar de Atacama, Chile - December 4th, 2008

Salar de Atacama, Chile - December 4th, 2008

The Andes Mountains clearly mark the border between Chile, left, and Argentina, right.

Chile has a hugely varied climate, ranging from desert in the North to a Mediterranean climate in the center, to a snowy Alpine climate in the South. The Atacama desert, visible here, is the world’s driest desert.

The large white area in the desert at the top left is the Salar de Atacama, the largest salt flat in Chile and the second largest in the world. The salt flat encompasses 3,000 km², and is about 100 km long and 80 km wide. Its average elevation is about 2,300 m asl.

It is surrounded by mountains and has no drainage outlets. The topography of the core portion of the salar exhibits a high level of roughness, which is due to that the surface of this area is permanently free of water, unlike most other salt flats, which tend to be periodically covered by shallow water.

The region of Argentina visible, however, is much less arid. It has several parallel mountain ranges, some of which have peaks higher than 20,000 feet (6,000 m). They are cut by fertile river valleys, the most important being the Calchaquí Valleys in the provinces of Catamarca, Tucumán, and Salta.

source Wikipedia

Salar de Arizona on the Andean High Plateau, Argentina

24.7S 67.7W

November 12th, 2009 Category: Volcanoes

Argentina - September 29th, 2009

Argentina - September 29th, 2009

The Central Andean dry puna is an ecoregion located in the Andean High plateau, in South America. It is a part of the Puna grassland, occupying the southwestern portion of the Altiplano, and is located east of the Atacama Desert.

Salt Flats, locally known as Salares, are a characteristic feature of this ecoregion. Among the largest of these is the Salar de Arizaro, visible as a large, flat light grey area in this orthorectified image.

It is the largest salar of Puna, Argentina, with a surface area of 1500 km2, and the third largest salar in the Andes, after the Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia and the Salar de Atacama in Chile. The salar is used for metallic and non-metallic mining, as is it rich in salt, iron, marble, onyx and copper.

Also visible in the upper left corner, near the salar, is the Aracar Volcano. It is a large conical stratovolcano in northwestern Argentina, just east of the Chilean border. It has an uneroded summit crater about 1.5 km in diameter which contains a small crater lake.

It is located on the edge of the Puna de Atacama, a high desert plateau east of the Atacama Desert. The only observed volcanic activity was a possible steam or ash plume on March 28, 1993, seen from the village of Tolar Grande about 50 km southeast of the volcano.

Desert and Mountains in Chile

February 2nd, 2009 Category: Snapshots

Chile - January 20th, 2009

Chile - January 20th, 2009

Detail of part of Andes Mountains

Detail of part of Andes Mountains

Close-up of Mejillones Peninsula

Close-up of Mejillones Peninsula

A good portion of central and northern Chile can be seen to the left, with parts of western Argentina (right) and southwestern Bolivia (top right).

This area includes dry desert, the snow-capped Andes Mountains and fertile valleys.

The Mejillones Peninsula is a promiment feature on the Chilean coast. It is surrounded by the waters of the Pacific Ocean to the west, with the world’s driest desert, the Atacama, to the east.

Close-up of river

Close-up of river

East of the peninsula, in the middle of the Atacama Desert, the Salar de Atacama, one of the largest salt flats in the world, identifiable as a slightly grey patch among the clouds.

Another close-up shows a part of the Andes Mountains. A small town on the Argentinian side is visible, nestled in the valley below. Its banks are surrounded by fields and crops.

The final detail image shows a river in southwestern Bolivia. It appears tan from sediments and has been further accentuated by some sun glint.