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Korean Peninsula
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Korean Peninsula

April 24, 2011
The land of the Korean peninsula appears dark on April 11, 2011, when the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard NASA's Aqua satellite passed over the region and captured this true-color image. The driest lands, on the western coast, appear light tan and red. In the mountains, especially in the north, the browns are tinged with dark green, as spring green-up begins.

The Korean peninsula is a transitional zone between the continental landmass of northeastern Asia and the island arc rimming the western Pacific Ocean. The western coast, which faces the continent, is open to the influence of the winter monsoon. The eastern coast is sheltered from the monsoon season by the peaks along the T'aebaeksan Mountain Range, which run from north to south along the peninsula.

Due to the mountainous region which lies in east, most of the river systems of Korea flow from east to west and empty into the Yellow Sea. In the upper left corner of the image, the northernmost river is the Amnok (Yalu) River, which forms the border between North Korea and China. South of this, sediment flows from many rivers into the Korea Bay, although the mouth of the Taedong, a major river of North Korea, appears sediment-free.

The tan sediment flowing into the Yellow Sea from northern South Korea comes from the Han River, the fourth longest river on the peninsula. The mouth of the Han forms broad tidal flats where it meets the Sea, and this area marks the beginning of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), which divides North Korea and South Korea. Seoul can be seen as a broad gray circle inland along the Han River.


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