EARTH Masterpieces of Stone and Ice (in 1080p)

Uploaded by SpaceRip on 16.02.2012

For the last few centuries, artists have been exploring EarthÕs untamed and awe-inspiring
vistas, often as an antidote to life in the modern world.
They evoked the grandeur of the Hudson River, the peace of Scandinavian fiords, or the omnipotent
power of the ocean.
This romantic ideal today has gained a new vantage point, from space, and a new set of
brushes for capturing the beauty of our planet.
Landsat images feature colors tuned to record geological or even human forces at work.
More than that, though, this great gallery of Earth explores its timeless beauty, its
uncertain path forward.
We begin our tour of Earth as art in Africa.
These are the Lesser Atlas Mountains in Morocco. They are part of the Atlas Mountain range,
which spans about 2,500 kilometers across Northern Africa. The region contains some
of the world's largest and most diverse mineral resources, most of which are still untouched.
Here is the Richat structure, more commonly known as the Eye of the Sahara. Located in
the Country of Mauritania, what seems to be a giant impact crater is actually a geological
formation. It formed when a volcanic dome hardened and gradually eroded, exposing the
countless layers of rock beneath the surface.
Moving to the country of Chad in central Africa, we push down to the Sahara desert. A series
of rocky outcroppings near the Terkezi Oasis, funnels windblown sand, like water in a streambed.
Now to the vast Namib Desert. The sand dunes you see are formed by Coastal winds. They
are the tallest in the world, with some reaching 300 meters in height.
Finally, we move to AfricaÕs tallest mountain, Mount Kilimanjaro. This dormant volcano is
5,895 meters high.
Now across the Atlantic Ocean, we arrive in South America.
This is the Parana River delta, a huge forested marshland northeast of Buenos Aires, Argentina.
This vast labyrinth of marsh and trees is one of the worldÕs greatest bird watching
Surrounding the Delta, you can see where the land has been carved up into farming plots.
Further north in the Amazon River basin, in Bolivia, what looks like digital fragmentation
is actually an image of dramatic deforestation.
Loggers have cut long paths into the forest, while ranchers have cleared large blocks for
their herds. Fanning out from these clear-cut areas are settlements built in radial arrangements
of fields and farms.
Moving north, you can see part of the Sierra Madre Oriental mountain range. These mountains
establish the border between the Coahuila and Nuevo Leon provinces of Mexico.
Moving further north, we pass over Garden City, Kansas
These unearthly forms are crop circles. Center-pivot irrigation systems require less maintenance
and provide a more even distribution of water. The red circles indicate crops of healthy
vegetation; light represents those that have been harvested.
Now we move to a country that is vastly underappreciated for the beauty of its landforms: Canada.
Extensive wetlands lie near the town of Yellowknife, near the Great Slave Lake in the Northwest
Territories. The shallow lakes seen in this image are grooves that were carved out by
glaciers during the last Ice Age.
Like sweeping brushstrokes of pink and green, the Belcher Islands meander across the deep
blue of Canada's Hudson Bay. Despite the green hues in this image, these rocky islands are
too cold to sustain more than a smattering of low-growing vegetation.
Like galaxies drifting through clouds of interstellar dust, chunks of sea ice float amid graceful
swirls of grease ice in frigid waters near Baffin Island. Grease ice is a soupy slick
of tiny ice crystals.
Along GreenlandÕs western coast, a small field of glaciers surrounds Baffin Bay.
East of Greenland is volcanic Iceland.
These are IcelandÕs West Fjords. They represent less than one-eighth the country's land area,
but their jagged perimeter accounts for more than half its total coastline.
Heading east now to Russia.
The crimson streak in the center of this image is the remains of an extensive lava and mud
flow. Its source is the currently dormant Anyuyskiy Volcano. The region is a rugged
collection of towering volcanic peaks, steep valleys, and wild, snow-fed rivers.
The Lena River, some 4,500km long, is one of the longest in the world. The Lena Delta
Reserve happens to be the most extensive protected wilderness area in Russia. It is an important
refuge and breeding ground for many species of Siberian wildlife.
Now on to a slightly warmer climate, the middle east.
The Dasht-e Kevir, or Great Salt Desert, is the largest desert in Iran. The scene resembles
oil paint dropped into water. On this uninhabited wasteland, mud marshes covered with crusts
of salt protect the meager moisture from completely evaporating.
In Western Iran, the Mand River is nestled in the Zagros Mountains.
To the West if Iran is the war-ravaged country of Iraq.
North of the city of Al-Basrah, a former wetland has been drained and walled off. Now littered
with minefields and gun emplacements, it is a staging area for military exercises.
Now we move east, to India.
The Ganges River begins in India and forms an extensive delta where it empties into the
Bay of Bengal in Bengladesh. The delta is largely covered with a swamp forest known
as the Sunderbans, which is home to the Royal Bengal Tiger.
To the NorthEast and China.
The Edrengiyn Nuruu forms a transition zone between the Mongolian steppes to the north
and the arid deserts of northern China to the south.
Finally, we
take in the sheer beauty staring up at us from the continent of Australia.
Here we can see the fleeting Lake Carnegie, in Western Australia. It fills with water
only during periods of significant rainfall. In dry years, it is reduced to a muddy marsh.
These are The MacDonnell mountain Ranges. They are a band of mountains spanning 644
km across Australia's arid interior. Only a portion of the Ranges can be seen in this
This is the western region of Australia's Great Sandy Desert. Ironically, itÕs almost
devoid of sand. The landscape is wrinkled with rocky dune-like structures, and cut by
a network of rivers, like veins in a leaf.
Wrapping up our journey, Earth presents us with its artistry in a small corner of the
vast Great Sandy Desert. The satellite has brought out the scarring action of natural
wildfires. The narrow sand dunes that cut across the scene are like cracks on an ancient
brittle canvas. A masterpiece, from the turbulent imagination of an artistÉ whose brushes are
wind, and fire, and time.