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Northern Mountains and Margarita Island, Venezuela – February 26th, 2012

10.1N 64.2W

February 26th, 2012 Category: Image of the day, Mountains

Venezuela - December 23rd, 2011

In the upper part of this wide-swath ASAR image, in the Caribbean Sea off the northeastern coast of Venezuela, is Margarita Island (Isla de Margarita), the largest island of the state of Nueva Esparta in Venezuela. The state also contains two other smaller islands: Coche and Cubagua. The island is formed by two peninsulas joined by an isthmus. It covers an area of 1,020 km². It splits into two sections linked by an 18-km (11-mi) spit of sand. It is 78 km long and its widest side measures roughly 20 km.

Visible on the mainland to the south, parallel to the coast, are Venezuela’s the northern mountains. They exten in a broad east-west arc from the Colombian border along the northern Caribbean coast, the wide plains in central Venezuela, and the Guiana highlands in the southeast. The northern mountains are the extreme northeastern extensions of South America’s Andes mountain range reach.

Ciudad Guayana Near Confluence of Orinoco and Caroní Rivers, Venezuela

8.3N 62.6W

February 14th, 2012 Category: Rivers

Venezuela - January 3rd, 2012

This orthorectified wide-swath ASAR image shows Ciudad Guayana (visible just above the image center), a city in Bolívar State, Venezuela. It lies south of the Orinoco, where the river is joined by the Caroní River. The city, officially founded in 1961, is actually composed of the old town of San Félix at the east and the new town of Puerto Ordaz at the west, which lie either banks of the Caroní and are connected by three bridges. The city stretches 40 kilometers along the south bank of the Orinoco.

The Orinoco is one of the longest rivers in South America at 2,140 km (1,330 mi). Its drainage basin, sometimes called the Orinoquia, covers 880,000 square kilometres (340,000 sq mi), with 76.3% of it in Venezuela and the remainder in Colombia. The Orinoco and its tributaries are the major transportation system for eastern and interior Venezuela and the llanos of Colombia. The Caroni River is the second most important river of Venezuela, the second in flow, and one of the longest, at 952 km. Visible in the lower part of the image is the large reservoir created by the Guri Dam on the Caroni River.

Gulf of Paria Between Venezuela and Trinidad and Tobago

10.4N 62.1W

February 12th, 2012 Category: Snapshots

Venezuela - January 3rd, 2012

This orthorectified wide-swath ASAR image shows the Gulf of Paria (Golfo de Paria in Spanish), a 7,800 km2 (3,000 sq mi) shallow inland sea between the island of Trinidad (Republic of Trinidad and Tobago) and the east coast of Venezuela. This sheltered body of water is considered to be one of the best natural harbours on the Atlantic coast of the Americas.

The Gulf of Paria is connected to the Caribbean Sea to the north through the Bocas del Dragón (or Dragons’ Mouth) between the Paria Peninsula of Venezuela and the Chaguaramas Peninsula, and to the Columbus Channel to the south through the Boca del Serpiente (Serpent’s Mouth) between the Cedros Peninsula and the Orinoco Delta.

The Gulf of Paria is a brackish water body – wet season salinities are below 23 ppt (parts per thousand). The extensive mangroves along the Venezuelan and Trinidadian coastlines are important wildlife habitat and probably play a crucial role in regional fisheries. The Gulf itself is an important fishery. Major ports include the Port of Port of Spain and the Port of Point Lisas in Trinidad and the Port of Pedernales in Venezuela.

Isla Margarita Off Coast of Venezuela

10.9N 63.9W

February 9th, 2012 Category: Mountains

Venezuela - January 3rd, 2012

This orthorectified wide-swath ASAR image shows Margarita Island (Isla de Margarita), the largest island of the state of Nueva Esparta in Venezuela, situated in the Caribbean Sea, off the northeastern coast of the country. The state also contains two other smaller islands: Coche and Cubagua.

The island is formed by two peninsulas joined by an isthmus. It covers an area of 1,020 km². It splits into two sections linked by an 18-km (11-mi) spit of sand. It is 78 km long and its widest side measures roughly 20 km. The climate is very sunny and dry with temperatures from 24 to 37°C.

Most of the island’s 420,000 residents live in the more developed eastern part, especially in the city of Porlamar and adjoining city of Pampatar. Others are found in the much smaller city of La Asunción, the capital of the region or Juan Griego.

The Macanao peninsula to the west has a central mountain range in the east-west direction. The highest altitude is 760 m at Pico de Macanao. Several smaller ranges derive from this axis following a north-south orientation with deep valleys between them. The most notable of these valleys is San Francisco in the north-central part of the peninsula. The Paraguachoa peninsula to the East is formed by a mountain range in the north-south direction from Porlamar to Cabo Negro. The highest peaks are San Juan or Cerro Grande (920 m) and El Copey (890 m).

Maracaibo on Tablazo Strait Near Gulf of Venezuela

10.6N 71.6W

December 30th, 2011 Category: Sediments

Venezuela - December 24th, 2011

Lake Maracaibo (below) is a large brackish bay in Venezuela. It is connected to the Gulf of Venezuela by Tablazo Strait (55km) at the northern end, and fed by numerous rivers, the largest being the Catatumbo. It is commonly considered a lake rather than a bay or lagoon, and at 13,210 km² it would be the largest lake in South America.

While the lake appears mostly sediment-free, tan and green sediments can be seen in the Gulf of Venezuela to the north. It is a gulf of the Caribbean Sea bounded by the Venezuelan states of Zulia and Falcón and by Guajira Department, Colombia. Also of note in the image is the city of Maracaibo, visible as a grey area on the western bank of the Tablazo Strait.

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