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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.

Varied Vegetation Index of Northeastern Brazil

5.7S 36.4W

November 8th, 2011 Category: Vegetation Index

Brazil - November 8th, 2011

This FAPAR image shows the vegetation index of part of the Northeast Region of Brazil, including the states of Ceará (left), Rio Grande do Norte (right) and Paraíba (lower right).

Photosynthetic activity is highest (rusty red) to the west, in Ceará, and lowest (yellow) to the east, in Rio Grande do Norte and Paraíba. This area of low activity is bordered by strips of good activity (green) to its east and west.

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.