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Princesses Astrid and Ragnhild Coasts Antarctica
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Princesses Astrid and Ragnhild Coasts, Antarctica

October 26, 2010
Early spring brings sunshine to the Antarctic, and with sunshine comes the melting and moving of sea ice. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard the Terra satellite captured this true color image on October 13, 2010 as the ice layer over the Southern Ocean begins to break away from the coasts of Princess Astrid (the western coast) and Princess Ragnhild (to the east).

In this image, sea ice appears a light blue-gray with a roughened surface, littered with cracks and fissures formed by the action of the restless ocean motion beneath the ice. In contrast, the coastal ice, which overlays land, has a smooth white surface. The large fissure running west to east generally runs along the coastline, although some fast ice (ice attached to land) may extend from the land into the sea on the southern edge of the fissure. Also visible as grayish specks at the lower edge of the image the Wohlthat Mountains peek out from the whitened landscape.


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