Snow Blankets the Rocky Mountains
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Snow Blankets the Rocky Mountains

February 27, 2010
Snow cover stretched from South Dakota's Mt. Rushmore to Arizona's Grand Canyon in late February 2010, after snowstorms blanketed the Rocky Mountains. Mostly cloud-free skies allowed the MODIS on NASA's Terra satellite this largely unobstructed view of the western continental United States on February 23, 2010.

From northern New Mexico, the Rocky Mountains stretch northward through Colorado and Wyoming. Along the eastern face of this mountain range, rugged terrain gives way to prairie, including the flat topography of eastern Wyoming and Colorado. Mountains extend far westward, however, with snow cover accentuating mountain peaks all the way to Salt Lake City. The snow-free Grand Canyon snakes a serpentine path in the southwest, but the land surrounding that park is snow covered, as is much of northern Arizona and New Mexico.

The large lake visible in Utah, which looks half green and half purple, is the Great Salt Lake. The distinctly different coloration between the northern and southern arms of it is the result of a rock-filled causeway built in 1953 to support a permanent railroad. The causeway has resulted in decreased circulation between the two arms and higher salinity on the northern side.

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