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Sierra Madre Ranges and Terrain from Dallas, USA to Guadalajara, Mexico

28.9N 99.8W

March 30th, 2012 Category: Lakes, Mountains

Mexico - December 31st, 2011

This image stretches from Texas, USA, across Mexico. The relatively flat terrain in Texas in the upper right quadrant contrasts with the Sierra Madre mountain ranges running parallel to both coasts of Mexico. Visible on the plains in the upper right corner is the city of Dallas, appearing as a large grey area. Another large city visible in this image is Guadalajara, located in Mexico near Lake Chapala at the bottom center.

Environmental Issues Affecting Lake Chapala, Mexico

20.2N 103W

February 13th, 2012 Category: Lakes

Mexico - January 5th, 2012

Lake Chapala is Mexico’s largest freshwater lake. It lies in the municipalities of Chapala, Jocotepec, Poncitlán, and Jamay, in Jalisco, and in Venustiano Carranza and Cojumatlán de Régules, in Michoacán. The lake is located southeast of Guadalajara, Jalisco, which is visible here as a large grey expanse.

Lake Chapala is located at 1,524 metres (5000 feet) above sea level. Its approximate dimensions are 80 km (50 mi) from east to west and averages 12.5 km (7.8 miles) from north to south, and covers an approximate area of 1,100 km2 (420 sq mi). It is a shallow lake, with a mean depth of 4.5 metres (14.9 feet) and a maximum of 10.5 (34 feet).

Environmental issues affecting the lake include increased in water consumption for drinking, erosion from deforestation and pollution. The city Guadalajara, Jalisco, has relied on Lake Chapala as a principal source of water since the 1950s. Shortly after, a few consecutive years of poor rainfall dramatically decreased the water level of the Lake. The level rebounded until 1979, when Lake Chapala’s water level rapidly began decreasing due to increases in urban water consumption.

Erosion due to deforestation along the Lake as well as the Lerma River has led to increased sedimentation of the Lake, also contributing to loss of lake depth. The shrinking depth has also raised the Lake’s average temperature, resulting in increased evaporation.

Simultaneously, the waters of Lake Chapala are polluted by municipal, industrial and agricultural wastes, coming primarily from the Lerma River. The increased presence of nutrients from the pollution combined with the warmer water has been a boon to an invasive species of Water Hyacinth. The water hyacinth further exacerbates the problem of a shrinking lake depth through its own consumption of the water.

Fires Near Western Coast of Mexico

19.6N 104W

June 18th, 2011 Category: Fires, Lakes

Mexico - May 23rd, 2011

More evidence of Mexico’s extreme 2011 fire season can be observed in this image of western Mexico, in the state of Jalisco. Visible in the upper right quadrant are Lake Chapala and the city of Guadalajara. As one moves west and south of the city and lake, closer to the coast, smoke hangs in the air and numerous fires can be observed.

Part of the reason why this year’s fire season has been so extreme is that the very wet 2010 rainy season caused increased grass growth, which in turn has dried and provided much fuel for fires. Hot, dry conditions coupled with winds have allowed the fires to spread throughout the country.

Fires Near Guadalajara in the State of Jalisco, Mexico

19.9N 104.2W

June 13th, 2011 Category: Fires, Lakes, Mountains

Mexico - June 9th, 2011

Visible at the center of the right side of this image of Mexico are the city of Guadalajara, in the state of Jalisco, northwest of the large, green Lake Chapala.

In the lower half of the image, smoke from several wildfires can be observed. Some of the fires are near Cerro Las Capillas, south of Guadalajara; others are closer to the ocean and the left edge of the image.


Guadalajara, Lake Chapala, and Popcorn Clouds by Sierra Madre Oriental, Mexico

20.9N 100.7W

June 2nd, 2011 Category: Clouds, Mountains

Mexico - May 18th, 2011

The city of Guadalajara appears as a huge grey area just above the northwestern end of the greenish Lake Chapala, both near the center left edge.

Moving eastward, popcorn clouds (best observed in the full image) dot the skies over the coastal plain between the slopes of the Sierra Madre Oriental range and the coast of the Gulf of Mexico.

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