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January 10, 2010
A few fires, marked in red dots, are scattered throughout Cuba in this image, captured by the MODIS on the Terra satellite on January 1, 2010. Wispy clouds and some fading jet contrails crisscross the image.

The waters are jewel-like: turquoise, bright blue, and emerald green near the islands, as well as the deeper blue of the Gulf of Mexico (top left) and the Atlantic Ocean (right). The brighter colors surrounding the Bahamas (the islands north of Cuba) are caused by the relatively shallow waters over the Little and Great Bahama Banks, which are shelves of land that were submerged as the continental glaciers of the last ice age melted. The brightly-colored waters around Cuba and Florida's tip (visible at the top of the image) could be a consequence of shallow waters, but could also be colored by a larger presence of microscopic marine organisms, such as algae and phytoplankton, which lend a darker-green tinge to the water.

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