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Topography of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, Mexico

17.6N 94.9W

March 5th, 2012 Category: Mountains

Mexico - December 29th, 2011

This wide-swath ASAR image shows the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, an isthmus in Mexico that represents the shortest distance between the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific Ocean. The isthmus includes the part of Mexico lying between the 94th and 96th meridians west longitude, or the southeastern parts of Veracruz and Oaxaca, including small areas of Chiapas and Tabasco. The states of Tabasco and Chiapas are east of the isthmus, with Veracruz and Oaxaca on the west.

At its narrowest point, the isthmus is 200 km (120 mi) across from gulf to gulf or 192 km (119 mi) to the head of Laguna Superior on the Pacific coast. The Sierra Madre breaks down at this point into a broad, plateau-like ridge. The northern side of the isthmus is swampy and densely covered with jungle. Visible in the upper right quadrant is the Términos Lagoon.

The Sierra Madre de Oaxaca mountains flatten out to form Chivela Pass before the Sierra Madre de Chiapas mountains resume to the south, so geographically the isthmus divides North America from Central America. However, the southern edge of the North American tectonic plate lies across the Motagua Fault in Guatemala, so geologically, the division between North America and Central America (on the Caribbean Plate) is much farther south than the isthmus of Tehuantepec.

Sediments by Yucatán Peninsula Coast, Mexico

17.4N 94.3W

October 26th, 2011 Category: Sediments

Mexico - October 24th, 2011

Sediments and algal growth line the coast of the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico, giving it a bright greenish blue frame. The coastline to the south and the west is mostly sediment free.

Hanging over the Isthmus of Tehuantepec is a small area of convection, concentrated on the northern side. The isthmus includes the southeastern parts of the states of Veracruz and Oaxaca, including small areas of Chiapas and Tabasco. The states of Tabasco and Chiapas are east of the isthmus, with Veracruz and Oaxaca to the west.

Sediments in the Bay of Campeche by the Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico – February 1st, 2010

18.6N 91.8W

February 1st, 2010 Category: Image of the day, Sediments

Mexico - January 26th, 2010

Mexico - January 26th, 2010

Laguna de Términos

Laguna de Términos

Sediments create a greenish halo around the western and northwestern shores of the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico, reaching far out into the waters of the Bay of Campeche. The bay is the southern bight of the Gulf of Mexico. It is surrounded on three sides by the Mexican states of Campeche, Tabasco and Veracruz.

The close-up focses on the Laguna de Términos (Términos Lagoon), which is connected by two channels to the Bay of Campeche, in the southwestern part of the Mexican state of Campeche. It is actually not one sole lagoon, but rather is composed of a series of rich, sediment-laden lagoons and tidal estuaries. The Isla del Carmen, on which Ciudad del Carmen is located, can be seen between the lagoon and the Bay of Campeche.

Fires in Southeastern Mexico

17.3N 94.2W

May 8th, 2009 Category: Fires

Fires in Mexico - May 7th, 2009

Fires in Mexico - May 7th, 2009

Fires burning in southeastern Mexico create widespread clouds of smoke over valleys, particularly in the states of Guerrero, Veracruz, Oaxaca, Chiapas and Tasbasco. Part of the Yucatán Peninsula can also be seen to the right.

Two main clusters of fires are visible in the main image: one on the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, the land area where the distance between the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific Ocean is shortest, and one to the southwest on the Guerrero-Oaxaca border.

These fires were probably set by people to clear land for agriculture and logging and fueled by the lack of dampness at the end of Mexico’s dry season, which runs from November to May.

Isthmus of Tehuantepec, Mexico

April 22nd, 2009 Category: Snapshots

Mexico - April 13th, 2009

Mexico - April 13th, 2009

The Isthmus of Tehuantepec is an isthmus in Mexico that represents the shortest distance between the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific Ocean. Geographically, the isthmus divides North America from Central America.

The isthmus includes the southeastern parts of Veracruz and Oaxaca, which are on the west, as well as small areas of Chiapas and Tabasco, which are east of the isthmus. Here, part of the Yucatán Peninsula can also be seen to the right.

The Isthmus of Tehuantepec is 200 km (125 miles) across at its narrowest point from gulf to gulf, or 192 km (120 miles) to the head of Laguna Superior on the Pacific coast. The both coasts of the isthmus are relatively free of sediments, while that of the peninsula is not.

The Sierra Madre breaks down at this point into a broad, plateau-like ridge, whose elevation, at the highest point reached by the Tehuantepec railway at Chivela Pass, is 224 m (735 ft).

The northern side of the isthmus is swampy and densely covered with jungle, as can be observed from its green and brown colors.

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