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Posts tagged South Island

Bright Blue Glacial Lakes of New Zealand’s South Island

44S 170.1E

January 11th, 2012 Category: Lakes

New Zealand - January 10th, 2012

The three bright blue, roughly parallel lakes in this image of New Zealand’s South Island are (from left to right): Lake Oahu, Lake Pukaki and Lake Tekapo. They are all alpine glacial lakes in the Mackenzie Basin, near the Southern Alps. The bright blue color comes from “glacial flour”, the extremely finely ground rock particles from glaciers feeding into the lakes.

Lake Oahu is the smallest of the three, with a surface area of 60 km². Lake Tekapo is the second-largest, covering an area of 83 km². Lake Pukaki is the largest of the three, covering an area of 178.7 km². Visible at the lake’s northern end is the Tasman River.

 

Taranaki Bights, Tasman Bay and Nearby Volcanoes, New Zealand

39.2S 174.0E

December 12th, 2011 Category: Lakes, Sediments, Volcanoes

New Zealand - November 25th, 2011

The South Taranaki Bight (middle of image) is the name given to the large bay which extends south and east from the south coast of Taranaki in New Zealand’s North Island. The North Taranaki Bight begins to the north of Cape Egmont (upper part of image).

Sediments can be seen lining the shores of both bights, and the active stratovolcano Mount Taranaki/Egmont can be seen on Cape Egmont. Further inland, Lake Taupo can be seen, with the active stratovolcano Mount Ruapehu to the south of it. The volcano is surrounded by a semi-circle of clouds, but is easily identified by its white, snow-capped peak.

Visible to the south, in the lower part of the image, is Tasman Bay, a large V-shaped bay at the north end of New Zealand’s South Island. Located in the centre of the island’s northern coast, it stretches along 120 km of coastline and is 70 km across at its widest point. It is an arm of the Tasman Sea, lying on the western approach to Cook Strait.

At Tasman Bay’s western extremity, the land around the bay is rough and densely forested. To the east, the land is also steep, with the westernmost points of sea-drowned valleys of the Marlborough Sounds. The land between these two extremes is more gently rolling, and also includes the coastal plains around the mouth of the Waimea River at the bay’s southernmost point.

Glacial Lakes Near Southern Alps, New Zealand – December 10th, 2011

44S 170.1E

December 10th, 2011 Category: Image of the day, Lakes, Rivers

New Zealand - November 25th, 2011

Three roughly parallel alpine glacial lakes in the Mackenzie Basin of New Zealand’s South Island appear bright hues of blue and green in this image (from left to right): Lake Oahu, Lake Pukaki and Lake Tekapo.

All three lakes were created when the terminal moraines of receding glaciers blocked their respective valleys, forming moraine-dammed lakes. The glacial feed to the lakes gives them a distinctive blue colour, created by glacial flour, the extremely finely ground rock particles from the glaciers.

Lake Oahu is fed by the Hopkins and Dobson rivers, which have their headwaters in the Southern Alps. It is the smallest of the three, with a surface area of 60 km².

Lake Pukaki is the largest of the three, covering an area of 178.7 km². The lake is fed at its northern end by the braided Tasman River, which has its source in the Tasman and Hooker Glaciers, close to Aoraki/Mount Cook.

Lake Tekapo is the second-largest, covering an area of 83 km2. The lake is fed at its northern end by the braided Godley River, which has its source in the Southern Alps to the north.

Lake Ellesmere / Te Waihora by Banks Peninsula, New Zealand – December 9th, 2011

43.7S 172.4E

December 9th, 2011 Category: Image of the day, Lakes

New Zealand - November 25th, 2011

Lake Ellesmere / Te Waihora, tan in color, is located in the Canterbury Region of the South Island of New Zealand. It is actually a broad, shallow lagoon located directly to the west of Banks Peninsula, separated from the Pacific Ocean by a long narrow sandy spit called Kaitorete Spit, or more correctly Kaitorete Barrier.

The Banks Peninsula is a peninsula of volcanic origin on the east coast of the South Island of New Zealand. It has an area of approximately 1,150 square kilometres (440 sq mi) and encompasses two large harbours and many smaller bays and coves. The South Island’s largest city, Christchurch is located immediately north of the peninsula.

Phytoplankton East of Banks Peninsula, New Zealand

42.9S 174.0E

November 27th, 2011 Category: Phytoplankton, Sediments

New Zealand - November 21st, 2011

The faint swirls of a phytoplankton bloom can be observed in the waters off the coast of New Zealand, east of the Banks Peninsula on the country’s South Island. Part of the North Island can be observed north of the bloom, at the top edge.

The bright bluish-green water framing the coastline of the peninsula is probably sediment re-suspended from the ocean floor by waves and tides, or washed into the ocean through rivers. In several places along the shoreline, tan sediments can be seen pouring into the ocean directly at the mouths of rivers.