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Where on Earth...? MISR Mystery Quizzes
Where on Earth...? MISR Mystery Image Quiz #17
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(See quiz questions or a list of previous quizzes.)

Where on Earth...? MISR Mystery Image Quiz #17
02/04/2004

Here's another chance to play geographical detective! This natural-color image from the Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR) represents an area of about 372 kilometers x 425 kilometers, and was captured by the instrument's vertical-viewing (nadir) camera in December, 2000. Only some of the following 9 statements about the region shown are true.

This image highlights the Pampas of Argentina and spans more than 158,000 square kilometers over 3 Argentinean provinces - the southern parts of La Pampa and Buenos Aires and the northernmost part of Rio Negro. Answers to the 9 questions are below.

1. Of the two large smoke plumes rising from fires near image center, one is burning within 10 kilometers of a major gas pipeline.

False. The major gas pipeline (the Nueba II) connecting the gas field in Neuquen to the port city of Bahia Blanca runs almost parallel and quite close to the highway (apparent as a thin white line crossing the Rio Colorado from southwest to northeast) that connects the two cities. At its closest point, this pipeline is at least 50 kilometers away from either of the two smoke plumes.

2. The blue, green, and silver-colored lakes and lagoons, and the white salt-encrusted lakes and marshes that appear throughout the image area, are usually drier during winter and wetter in the summer.

Both True and False accepted. La Pampa and Buenos Aires provinces receive most rainfall during summer, when the long dry season is broken. However, some years are driest during the middle of summer. In the summer of 2000/2001, the rains were late and the region was dry until after mid-summer.

3. Agriculture in this region is devoted primarily to vegetable and fruit production.

False. The main agricultural products are livestock, forage and cereal crops, soybeans and oil seeds. Fruit and vegetable production does not predominate.

4. There are fewer trees and forests in the region today than there were 500 years ago.

False. The native grasslands of the Pampas are reknowned for the scarcity of trees. Although there has been forest loss in surrounding regions, and although much of the native vegetation of the Pampas has been replaced by modern agriculture and cattle ranching, there were no forests in the Pampas 500 years ago.

5. The fresh waters that feed the silver-colored lakes in the upper-right corner of the image are described as an aid to digestion in a 19th century novel by a French science fiction author.

True. The waters of a small brook that feeds this chain of lakes (the Rio Guamini) is praised in Jules Verne’s book "In Search of the Castaways."

6. The silver-colored area along the right-hand edge at image center is situated along the boundary of a city that was originally named for its white beaches.

True. The silver area corresponds with the outskirts of Bahia Blanca. The city was called “White Bay” because of its white, salt-encrusted shores that surround the bay. The bay and the city itself are not shown.

7. In the same year in which this image was acquired, a water contamination event occurred and residents of the aforementioned city were warned not to drink from the municipal water supply.

True. In April 2000 the city of Bahia Blanca warned its 420,000 residents to avoid using tap water because of the presence of toxic bacteria in the water at that time.

8. The dark blue lake apparent at left-hand edge of image center is named for its sweet waters and supports year-round commercial and sport fishing.

False. The dark blue lake, "La Dulce," is named for its fresh water, and there is sport and commercial fishing for "pejerrey," but there are long closed seasons, or "vedas," and commercial fishing is allowed only a few months of the year.

9. The waters of the river that ends in a large alluvial fan (situated near the right-hand edge below image center), are saltier than the waters of the river below it, which continues to flow beyond the right-hand image edge.

True. The river that ends in the large alluvial fan is the Rio Colorado, and the river below it is the Rio Negro. At times, the excessively salty waters of the Salado-Chadileuvu-Curaco river system contaminate the waters of the Rio Colorado.


87 people from all over the world sent in responses before the deadline. Although no one replied with correct answers to all 9 questions, individuals who gave correct answers to at least 7 questions are listed below. The prize winners are indicated by an asterisk.

Individuals who answered 8 questions correctly:
  1. Monika Draga, Bad Kissingen, Germany
  2. Yu Wei, Xiamen, China*
  3. George Chaniot, Potter Valley, CA, USA*
  4. Jim Armstrong, Potter Valley, CA, USA*
  5. Doug Jackson, Arlington, VA, USA
  6. Paul de Krock, Belgium

Individuals who answered 7 questions correctly:
  1. Benjamin Steele, Oak Park, CA, USA
  2. J.A, West Farmington, ME, USA
  3. Kaz Hikida, Kamakura, Japan
  4. Marion Florjancic, Crotone, Italy
  5. Andrzej Szuksztul, Poland

MISR was built and is managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, for NASA's Office of Earth Science, Washington, DC. The Terra satellite is managed by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD. JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology.

Credit: Image credit: NASA/GSFC/LaRC/JPL, MISR Team.
Text acknowledgment: Clare Averill (Raytheon / Jet Propulsion Laboratory).

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