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Where on Earth...? MISR Mystery Quizzes
Where on Earth...? MISR Mystery Image Quiz #7
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Where on Earth...? MISR Mystery Image Quiz #7
04/03/2002

Here's another chance to play geographical detective! This Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR) image covers an area of about 317 kilometers x 412 kilometers, and was captured by the instrument's vertical-viewing (nadir) camera on July 4, 2001. Use any reference materials you like and answer the following three questions:

1. Near the left-hand edge, above image center, are two light-blue lakes separated by a narrow strip of land. Three of the following four statements about them are true. Which one is false?
(A) The lakes are in a depression formed by tectonic and volcanic activity.
(B) Several rare and endangered bird species breed here.
(C) The dominant species of fish is the weatherfish, Misgurnus fossilis.
(D) Water levels can vary considerably, causing changes to the size of exposed islands.

Answer: C
This region of central Asia is situated at the juncture of Mongolia, China and Russia. The large lakes apparent in the image form geographic reference points and fall on or near political boundaries. The light-blue lakes in the upper left are Russia's Torey Lakes (also spelled Torei or Tooroi Lakes), situated near the border with Mongolia. The Torey Lakes form an important part of the Mongol-Manzurian steppe and wetland ecosystems, and are known as breeding, feeding and staging areas for millions of migratory waterfowl, including six species of rare cranes, the Relic gull and the Great Bustard. The dominant fish in the lakes is the Crucian Carp (Carassius auratus), although the weatherfish (Misgurnus fossilis) is also present. The lakes are situated in a basin formed by tectonic and volcanic activities associated with the Central Asian rift system, and the water level of these saline lakes shows dramatic variation. Islands are exposed when water levels are low, and the lakes have been known to retreat entirely.

2. To the right of image center is a large lake. About 30 kilometers northwest of the northern tip of this lake is a border city, which from 1913 to 1949 had a different name than the one it goes by today. Three of the following four statements about the city are true. Which one is false?
(A) Coal mining and food processing are important to the local economy.
(B) Transshipment facilities for handling crude oil are planned, but have not yet been constructed.
(C) Mammoth fossils have been discovered here.
(D) Railway passengers can cross the border into this city on the #20 train.

Answer: B
The largest lake in the image area is Hulun Nur (or Hulun Hu), part of China's Inner Mongolian Autonomous Region. A linear feature visible between Torey Lakes and Hulun Nur closely follows part of the boundary between Mongolia and China. The Russian / Chinese border in this area is situated north of Hulun Nur, near the city of Manzhouli (or Manchouli), sometimes called a "Gate to China". Manzhouli was known as Lubin from 1913 until 1949. The city developed after the construction of the trans-Manchurian train, and until recent years was the main center for trade between Russia and China. Trains between Moscow and Beijing stop at Manzhouli (train numbers 19 and 20). China imports and transships crude oil via the city, and facilities for transshipment of oil were expanded in 2000. Important industries include coal mining and the production of food and wool. The region is also of archaeological interest; a large mammoth skeleton excavated from one of the coal mines near Manzhouli is on display at the Inner Mongolia Museum in Huhhot, Inner Mongolia, China.

3. In the lower right-hand quadrant of the image is a blue-green lake partially obscured by some cumulus clouds. This lake is part of a nation whose capital city contains a landmark square named for a national hero. A statue in the square portrays this individual (choose one):
(A) At the helm of a ship
(B) Seated on a throne
(C) Standing in the company of another person
(D) On horseback

Answer: D
The lake in the lower right of the image area is called Buyr Nuur (or Buir Nur), and is part of eastern Mongolia. Mongolia's capital city is Ulaanbaatar (outside the area covered by this image). Ulaanbaatar's main square is named for Damdiny Sukhbataar, the hero of Mongolian independence from China. The centerpiece of Sukhbataar Square is a statue depicting Sukhbataar on horseback.


67 people from all over the world sent in responses before the deadline. Individuals who answered all three questions correctly are listed below. The prize winners are indicated by asterisks.

  1. Constantine Thomas, London, England*
  2. Jude Smith, Columbus, OH, USA*
  3. Monika Draga, Bad Kissingen, Germany*
  4. David Haycock, Tucson, AZ, USA
  5. Yu Wei, Xiamen, China
  6. Gordon Stewart, Pasadena, CA, USA
  7. Kazaki Hikida, Kamakura, Japan
  8. Clare Rowland, Oxford, England
  9. Joost Vandenabeele, Brussels, Belgium
10. Dan Chaney, Bellevue, WA, USA
11. Joe Capuano, Ypsilanti, MI, USA
12. Jan Pavlik, Brno, Czech Republic
13. Josef G. Fischer, Trondheim, Norway
14. Mark Williams, St. Louis, MO, USA
15. Hervé ALLEMAND, Paris, France
16. David Joiner and Alan Halstead, Aurora, Ontario, Canada
17. Gregg, Jilson, Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada
18. Antti Jarvi, Espoo, Finland
19. Paul Tobias
20. Ulrike Fischer, Schärding, Austria
21. Rebecca Barr, New York, NY, USA

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.

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