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Lençóis Maranhenses National Park and Sediments Along Coast of Northeastern Brazil

2.7S 42.8W

October 9th, 2012 Category: Deserts

Brazil – October 8th, 2012

Sediments frame the coastline of northeastern Brazil, particularly along the states of Maranhão, Piauí, Ceará and Rio Grande do Norte (left to right).

Visible in the state of Maranhão, in the upper left quadrant, is the Lençóis Maranhenses National Park (Parque Nacional dos Lençóis Maranhenses), appearing as a large white area by the coast, just east of the Baía de São José. It is an area of low, flat, occasionally flooded land, overlaid with large, discrete sand dunes. It encompasses roughly 1500 square kilometers, and despite abundant rain, supports almost no vegetation.

São Luís Island in São Marcos Bay, Northeastern Brazil

2.5S 44.2W

November 14th, 2011 Category: Rivers

Brazil - November 13th, 2011

This orthorectified wide-swath ASAR image shows the Baía de São Marcos, a bay of the Atlantic Ocean in the state of Maranhão, in northeastern Brazil.

The bay is an estuary approximately 100 kilometers (60 mi) long and up to 16 kilometers (10 mi) wide. It receives several rivers, including the Grajaú, Mearim, and Pindaré. The Mearim is known for its pororoca, or tidal bore.

São Luís Island, also known as Maranhão Island, separates the Baía de São Marcos from the Baía de São Jose just to the east. São Luís Island is home to São Luís, Maranhão’s capital.

Sediments Framing Northern and Eastern Coastlines of Brazil’s Northeast Region

7.8S 39.7W

July 17th, 2011 Category: Sediments

Brazil - July 14th, 2011

This image shows part of the Northeast Region (Região Nordeste, in Portuguese) of Brazil, which is composed of the following states: Maranhão, Piauí, Ceará, Rio Grande do Norte, Paraíba, Pernambuco, Alagoas, Sergipe and Bahia, and it represents 18.26% of the Brazilian territory.

Geographically, the Northeast consists chiefly of an eroded continental craton with many low hills and small ranges. The highest peaks are around 1,850 metres (6,070 ft) in Bahia, while further north there are no peaks above 1,123 metres (3,684 ft).

On its northern and western side, the plateaus fall steadily to the coast and into the basin of the Tocantins River in Maranhão, but on the eastern side it falls off quite sharply to the coast except in the valley of the São Francisco river. The steep slopes and long cliffs of the eastern coastline are known as “The Great Escarpment”. Here, sediments frame the northern and eastern coastlines.

The escarpment serves an extremely important climatic function. Because for most of the year the Nordeste is out of reach of the Intertropical Convergence Zone, the easterly trade winds blow across the region, giving abundant rainfall to the coast but producing clear, dry conditions inland where the escarpment blocks moisture flow. This gives rise to four distinct regions, the zona da mata on the coast, the agreste on the escarpment, sertão beyond and the Mid north.

Flooding in North and Northeast Brazil

May 6th, 2009 Category: Floods

Maranhao, Brazil - May 4th, 2009

Maranhao, Brazil - May 4th, 2009

Severe floods have forced tens of thousands of people from their homes in the north and north-east of Brazil and at least 15 have been killed, reports the BBC.

More than 190 towns and cities have been badly affected by the floods, forcing about 180,000 people across eight states to leave their homes.

Although much of the image is covered by clouds, dark brown sediments from the Amazon River can be seen at the top left. Parts of the state of Maranhao are visible amidst the clouds.

The state of Maranhao has been hit particularly hard, with over 130,000 people affected by flooding. The governor of the neighbouring state of Piaui has declared an emergency in 19 towns and cities and has requested military assistance for those stranded by flooding.

A number of important roads in the region are impassable, and the army has been using boats to help people reach their destinations.

For weeks, heavy rain has been causing extensive problems across the north-east of Brazil, a region more often associated with the difficulties caused by drought.

Such is the size of Brazil that in the south of country the problem is exactly the opposite – 95 towns and cities are now reported to be facing a crisis because of a lack of rain.