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Lake Sakakawea in North Dakota
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Lake Sakakawea in North Dakota

February 28, 2012
Ice cover on Lake Sakakawea in North Dakota is featured in this image photographed by an Expedition 30 crew member on the International Space Station. This striking photograph illustrates the harsh winter conditions frequently experienced in North Dakota. Ice covers the surface of northwestern Lake Sakakawea, a reservoir on the Missouri River in west-central North Dakota. A local weather station near New Town, ND reported an air temperature of approximately -24 °C (-11 °F), with a wind chill of approximately -32 °C (-25 °F) at 10:36 local time – six minutes before the image was taken. In addition to the grey ice on the lake, a dusting of white snow highlights agricultural fields to the north and northeast, as well as fissures and irregularities in the ice surfaces. For a sense of scale, the arms of the lake to either side of New Town are approximately 10 kilometers (6 miles) apart. Lake Sakakawea is named—in the Hidatsa language—for the Shoshone woman generally known as Sacagawea, or “Bird Woman”. She accompanied the Lewis and Clark Expedition in 1805–1806 as an interpreter and guide. The lake was created following the completion of Garrison Dam (not shown) on the Missouri River in 1954. With a surface area of approximately 148,924 hectares (368,000 acres) and length of 286 kilometers (178 miles), Lake Sakakawea is one of the largest artificial reservoirs in the USA.

Credit: NASA


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