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Western United States
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Western United States

March 21, 2009
A large portion of the western part of the United States is shown in this image, captured by the MODIS on the Aqua satellite on March 12, 2009. Also visible are parts of Canada, including southern British Columbia and a bit of Alberta on the right-hand side of the image. In the top left corner is Vancouver Island, part of the Canadian Province of British Columbia. At the south tip of the island is the city of Victoria, British Columbia' s capital. The city of Vancouver sits across the water on the mainland.

British Columbia's glacier-capped Coast Mountain Range runs northwest-southeast inland from Vancouver Island, which is separated from Washington State by the Juan de Fuca Strait. The brownish (and relatively snow-free) region in the interior of Washington and Oregon to the south is the Columbia Plateau. This area contrasts greatly with the normally green western half of the state. This is because it is cut off from Pacific Ocean moisture by the Cascade Mountain Range, also home to Mt. Rainer.

Moving further south, along the Pacific coast is northern California, divided length-wise by mountains and long valleys. Visible on the border between California and Nevada is Lake Tahoe. East of Nevada is Utah, with its Great Salt Lake. Futher north of Nevada and Utah is Idaho and Montana, both mountainous and snow-covered.