New Zealands South Island
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New Zealand's South Island

December 19, 2007

This image from the MODIS on the Aqua satellite, provides a cloud-free look at the South Island of New Zealand, on December 7, 2007. New Zealand is in the South Pacific Ocean, roughly 2,000 km (1,250 miles) southeast of Australia. The Cook Strait separates the North and South Islands. The North Island is not pictured here.

The South Island is a larger landmass than the North Island, but currently, only about a quarter of New Zealand's four million inhabitants live there. It is divided along its length by the Southern Alps, visible on the image, as the mountains are covered with snow and stand out from the greens and browns. Don't forget that it is summer in the southern hemisphere, so we wouldn't expect to see snow at the lower elevations!

The highest peak in the Southern Alps is Aoraki/Mount Cook at 3754 meters (12,316 ft). There are eighteen peaks of more than 3000 meters (9800 ft) in the South Island. On the east side of the island is the Canterbury Plains - they are located near the middle of the island near the protruding peninsula. The West Coast has more rugged coastlines, a great deal of native bush, and glaciers.

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