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Posts tagged Brasilia

Huge Blackout in Brazil and Paraguay – November 11th, 2009

November 11th, 2009 Category: Image of the day, Rivers

Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay - November 10th, 2009

Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay - November 10th, 2009

A problem with the Itaipú hydroelectric power plant plunged Paraguay and large parts of central-western and south-eastern Brazil into darkness on Tuesday night, virtually paralyzing the two countries. Experts are debating whether or not lightning and heavy winds and rains from a large atmospheric disturbance were responsibile for the blackout.

Power was being restored to Brazilian cities early Wednesday, while it was restored to Paraguay about 20 minutes after the initial loss. The power failure knocked out electricity in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Brasília, Belo Horizonte and almost 800 other cities in 10 Brazilian states. It it also forced the shutdown of major airports in Rio and São Paulo, as well as the São Paulo metro system.

Itaipú, the world’s largest operational hydroelectric power plant, straddles the border between Brazil and Paraguay. Representatives of Itaipu Binacional claim that the blackout was not caused by a problem with the hydroelectic power plant itself, but by a fault in the system that transmits electricity.

Brazilian government officials, including the Minister of Mines and Energy, originally blamed the blackout on a lightening bolt and/or strong winds and rains from a large atmospheric disturbance hitting a 750 kilovolt electrical transmission line between Ivaiporã (in the state of Paraná) and Tijuco Preto (state of São Paulo).

However, the Brazilian National Meteorology Institute (INMET) stated that the sky was heavily cloudy and prone to lightening strikes only between 1:00PM and 4:00PM, during which time this image was taken, and had cleared well before the start of the blackout at 10:10PM. Here the storm is visible covering the Itaipú Dam near the triple border between Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina around 1:40PM on Tuesday.

The Paraná River, on which the dam is located, runs southward out from under the clouds, then east into the sediment-filled Rio de la Plata estuary. The cities of Buenos Aires and Montevideo can be seen on the shores nearby. Upon opening the full image, more of Brazil and Paraguay are visible to the north, above the clouds.

Brazilia and Paranoá Lake, Brazil

15.7S 47.9W

July 25th, 2009 Category: Lakes

Brazil - July 2nd, 2009

Brazil - July 2nd, 2009

Brazil’s capital city, Brasília, in the country’s Federal District (occupying the central portion of the image), is located in a region called Planalto Central. This dry region has only two seasons: wet and dry.

During the dry season (winter), the humidity can reach critical levels, mainly in the peak hours of the hottest days. The artificial lake of Paranoá, with almost 40 km2 (15 sq mi) and 500 million cubic metres (410,000 acre·ft) of water, was built exactly to minimize the severe climatic conditions of the winter.

Brasília itself can be seen in the full image as a greyish area, left of center, between the Parque Nacional do Brasilia, a brownish patch of land with the Santa Maria Reservoir in the center, and the irregularly shaped Paranoá Lake just to the east of the national park. The other brownish patch below the lake is Brasília’s Botanical Garden.

Triple-boundary in Brazil: Goiás, Minas Gerais and Bahia

March 7th, 2009 Category: Rivers

Brazil - March 5th, 2009

Brazil - March 5th, 2009

The terrain here lies at the triple-boundary between three of Brazil’s states: Goiás (left), Minas Gerais (bottom right) and Bahia (upper right).

The Federal District (Distrito Federal) of Brasilia is visible as a tan area left of the center. The city of Goiânia, in the state of Goiás, appears as another tan area southwest of Brasilia.

Goiás lies wholly within the Brazilian Highlands, which are located in the center of the country. It occupies a large plateau with a tropical climate.

The state is covered with a woodland savanna known in Brazil as campo cerrado, although there are still tropical forests along the rivers. This cerrado has been seriously diminished in recent years due to cattle raising and soybean farming with great loss of animal life and forest cover.

The vegetation of Bahia, on the other hand, is Atlantic Forest, although deforestation has been causing it to diminish.

The state is crossed from north to south by a mountain chain, Chapada Diamantina (also known as Serra do Espinhaço and Borborema), which divides it in two clearly distinct geographical zones. To the east, the soil is fertile and, despite high temperatures, rainy seasons are regular. The predominant vegetation in the west is “cerrado”.

Finally, in the areas of Minas Gerais visible here, the predominant vegetation to the west is “campo cerrado”, while the south is hilly, green,  and notably cooler than the rest of the state.

The state is also crossed by the river São Francisco, in the upper right quadrant, tan from sediments. It is the most important river in the Brazilian northeast because it is a permanent river, which continuously supplies water to this arid region when many other smaller rivers dry out.