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Last updated on April 16, 2014 at 10:37 EDT
Yucatan Peninsula
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Yucatan Peninsula

April 25, 2013
Much of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula is covered with the deep green of the forest in this photo-like image taken by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on the Aqua satellite on February 5, 2006. The region’s largest city and the capital of Yucatan state, Merido, is a brilliant silver-gray dot against the darker background of the land. Several smaller cities form cement-colored dots along the coast. Shades of lighter green near the coast indicate that the land has been cleared, with the paler green grid of agriculture replacing trees in some places. More obvious signs of deforestation are visible along the western shore of the peninsula where tan squares have been cut from the forest. In the large image, thin pale lines crisscross the region where corridors have been cut for roads. Red dots indicate the locations of fires. The Yucatan Peninsula was the home of the Maya civilization, and even today the Mayan people in the Yucatan are one of the largest indigenous populations in Mexico. More than a hundred Mayan sites have been found on the peninsula, including cities like Chichen Itza and Uxmal. Credit: Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC