Patagonia Argentina
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Patagonia, Argentina

January 17, 2006
The Plateau of Patagonia in Argentina and southern Chile is shown in this Medium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MERIS) image.

The highest peaks of the Andes (covered by white snow in the image) form a natural boundary between Argentina and Chile and are responsible of the high landscape contrast between these two countries.

Chile, along the left side of the Andes Mountains, appears mostly green and lush (as can be seen in the top left corner in the image) due to its cool, damp southern climate while Argentina looks dry and brown due to its arid (southeast) and sub Antarctic (southwest) climates.

The southern part of Argentina, known as Patagonia is the largest desert in the Americas, consisting basically of arid and desolate steppes. Along the Atlantic coast, from top to bottom in the image, can be seen the "Bahia Blanca", the Gulf of San Matias, the Valdes Peninsula, the Gulf of San Jorge, Cape Tres Puntas (in the center), and the Grande Bay where a pattern of some periodical waves can be seen in the image due to the existence of strong winds in the area.

The tan-green color in the Bahia Blanca is due to sediments deposited in the water by the Colorado and Negro rivers. On the other hand, bright turquoise lakes seen in the image are the result of extremely fine sediment, highly reflective, deposited by the glaciers.

The group of islands in the bottom right part of the image is known as "Tierra del Fuego" where Cape Horn is the southernmost point on the continent. These islands located in the ocean current circling Antarctica have some of the worst weather in the world, continuously battered by high winds and covered by clouds.

Technical Information:
  • Satellite: Envisat
  • Instrument: MERIS
  • Acquisition: 28-Aug-2003
  • Orbit nr: 07808
  • Center coordinates: lat. -48.53, lon. -67.12

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