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Lake Geneva by the Chablais and Bernese Alps

46.4N 6.5E

October 24th, 2009 Category: Lakes, Rivers

Switzerland - September 29th, 2009

Switzerland - September 29th, 2009

Below the snow-dusted Swiss Alps lie (from lower left to upper right) Lake Geneva, Lake Neuchâtel, Lake Thun and Lake Brienz. All are located entirely in Switzerland except for Lake Geneva, which is also shared by France.

Lake Geneva, the largest lake in the image,  lies along the Rhône River. It has an alpine character and is bordered by the Chablais Alps along its southern shore, while the western Bernese Alps lie over its eastern side.

It is the largest natural freshwater lake in western Europe (with a surface area of 582 km²) and the largest body of freshwater in continental Europe in terms of volume (89 km³).

The crescent shape of Lake Geneva, formed by a withdrawing glacier, narrows around Yvoire on the southern shore. It can thus be divided into the “Grand Lac” (Large Lake) to the east and the “Petit Lac” (Small Lake) to the west.

Lakes in Switzerland Below the Alps – October 11th, 2009

46.4N 6.5E

October 11th, 2009 Category: Image of the day, Lakes

Switzerland - August 31st, 2009

Switzerland - August 31st, 2009

The low-laying areas below the Swiss Alps are home to several lakes, including Lake Geneva, Lake Neuchâtel, Lake Thun and Lake Brienz.

Lake Geneva (or Lake Léman), lower left, is the second largest freshwater lake in Central Europe in terms of surface area. Shared by Switzerland and France, it lies on the course of the Rhône River.

North of Lake Geneva is Lake Neuchâtel, in Western Switzerland. With a surface of 218.3 km², it is the largest lake entirely in Switzerland. The lake is 38.3 km long and no more than 8.2 km wide. Its surface is 429 m above sea-level, with a maximum depth of 152 m. The total water volume is 14.0 km³ and its drainage area is approximately 2,670 km².

Lakes Thun and Brienz are located close together, near the right side of the image. Here, Lake Thun appears blue, while Lake Brienze is bright green.

The alpine Lake Thun takes its name from the Swiss city of Thun, on its northern shore. Its approximately 2,500 km² large catchment area frequently causes local flooding after heavy rainfalls. Lake Thun is actually fed by water from Lake Brienz to the south east, which lies 6 metres higher.

Lake Brienz, similar to its neighbor Lake Thun, takes its name from the village Brienz on its northern shore. The shores are steep, and there is almost no shallow water in the entire lake. Its length is about 9 miles, its width 1½ miles, and its maximum depth 856 feet, while its area is 11½ square miles, and the surface is 564 m above the sea-level.

Lake Geneva and Surrounding Mountains – May 27th, 2009

46.2N 6.1E

May 27th, 2009 Category: Image of the day, Lakes

Geneva, Switzerland - May 16th, 2009

Geneva, Switzerland - May 16th, 2009

The city of Geneva, Switzerland, glitters at the end of Lake Geneva (known as Lac Léman in French), where the Rhône River exits the lake, in this ASAR image.

Geneva is the second-most-populous city in Switzerland and is the most populous city of Romandie (the French-speaking part of Switzerland).

The image has been orthorectified, giving a truer view of the contours of the two mountain chains surrounding the city, the Alps and the Jura.

The altitude of Geneva is 373.6 meters (1,225.7 ft), and corresponds to the altitude of the largest of the Pierres du Niton, two large rocks emerging from the lake which date from the last ice age.

Rivers and Lakes in Languedoc-Roussillon, France

May 4th, 2009 Category: Lakes, Rivers

Languedoc-Roussillon, France - April 23rd, 2009

Languedoc-Roussillon, France - April 23rd, 2009

Étang de Thau or Bassin de Thau (dark blue, center) is the largest of a string of lakes that stretch along the Languedoc-Roussillon, the French coast from the Rhône River to the foothills of the Pyrenees which form the border to Spain. It is the second largest lake in France.

Other lakes and swamps can also be seen along the coast to the northeast and southwest. Several rivers spill sediments into the Mediterranean Sea, most notably the  Rhône, east of the Étang de Thau, and the Orb and the Aude, west of the Étang.

The Étang de Thau itself is about 21 km long and 8 km wide, with an area of 7,012 hectares. The mean depth of the étang is 4.5m, but in the central navigation channel it can be 10 metres deep.

Until relatively recently the étangs from Marseillan to the Rhône were a continuous stretch of inland waterway. Linked, now, by the Canal du Rhône à Sète to the river Rhône and by the Canal du Midi to Bordeaux via Toulouse, the étang also has access to the Mediterranean at Sète.

To the east, between Balaruc and Sète, the borders of the lagoon are largely industrial. The south bank is formed by the coastal strip from Sète to Cap d’Agde. The northern side has villages dedicated to fishing and the production of shellfish.

Extinct Volcanoes of France’s Massif Central

April 18th, 2009 Category: Volcanoes

France - March 31st, 2009

France - March 31st, 2009

France possesses a wide variety of landscapes, from coastal plains in the north and west to mountain ranges of the Alps in the south-east, the Massif Central in the south-central and Pyrenees in the south-west.

Several snow-capped peaks in the Massif Central are visible here. The Massif Central is an elevated region in south-central France, covering about 15% of the country. It consists of mountains and plateaus. These central mountains are separated from the Alps by a deep north-south cleft created by the Rhône River.

Subject to volcanism that has subsided in the last 10,000 years, the entire Massif Central region contains the largest concentration of extinct volcanoes in the world, with approximately 450 volcanoes. One strip alone running north to south and less than 60 square miles (160 km2) contains 115 of them.