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Ship Tracks off the Coast of Chile

38.8S 75.2W

October 21st, 2010 Category: Clouds

Argentina - October 12th, 2010

The two opaque white parallel lines of clouds cutting through the more through the translucent surrounding cloud cover are an atmospheric phenomenon known as ship tracks. Similar to airplane condensation trails, they form when water molecules gather around the exhaust released into the air by ships.

Parts of Chile and Argentina can be seen in the right half of the image. Although much of Chile is obscured by heavy cloud cover, some snow-capped ridges of the Andes Mountains can be observed, and the Argentine Patagonia terrain is cloud-free.

In related news about Chile, a 5.8-magnitude quake shook the central part of the country late on Wednesday, swaying buildings in the capital Santiago, but causing no damage, emergency officials said.

The quake’s epicenter was offshore in the Pacific Ocean 196 miles west-southwest of Santiago and at a depth of 4.2 miles (6.7), the U.S. Geological Survey said.

In February, Chile was struck by an 8.8-magnitude quake, one of the biggest in recorded history, killing more than 500 people and ravaging towns and industries in south-central Chile.

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