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Where on Earth...? MISR Mystery Quizzes
Where on Earth...? MISR Mystery Image Quiz #26
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(See quiz questions or a list of previous quizzes.)

Where on Earth...? MISR Mystery Image Quiz #26
11/02/2011

Welcome back to another chance to play geographical detective!

This image was taken by the Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR), and represents an area of about 238 kilometers by 223 kilometers. North is at the top. These questions refer to a country within the image. Please answer the questions below and tell us where on Earth you think the location is. You may use any reference materials you like to answer the quiz.

A. From the statements below, please indicate which are TRUE and which are FALSE.

B. What country is shown in this image?

1. The small island off the coastal inlet in the lower left corner of the image is dominated by mangrove swamps, and considered home to protected sea bird sanctuaries. Parts of the island are off-limits for visitors.
TRUE.
Isla de Chira, or Chira Island, is a Costa Rican Pacific Island located near the upper end of the Gulf of Nicoya, the largest of several islands in the area. Isla de Chira is surrounded by mangroves, which cover the eastern end of the island. Popular with pelicans and frigate birds, and uninhabited except for a few fishermen, farmers and others who eke out a living from salinas (salt pans), these islands are protected seabird sanctuaries and are off-limits for visitors.

2. Settlers were, perhaps, over-optimistic in their naming policy of this country.
TRUE.
Settlement of Costa Rica began in the 1500s. For nearly three hundred years, Spain administered the region as part of the Captaincy General of Guatemala under a military governor. The Spanish optimistically called the country "Rich Coast" (“Costa Rica”). Finding little gold or other valuable minerals in Costa Rica, however, the Spanish turned to agriculture.

3. The body of water shown on the right side of the image is considered so shallow and is situated on a single plate, that it is known for its tranquil calm waters and geologic inactivity.
FALSE.
The Caribbean Sea is divided into five basins separated from each other by underwater ridges and mountain ranges. Despite this, the Caribbean Sea is considered a relatively shallow sea in comparison to other bodies of water. The Caribbean sea floor is also home to two oceanic trenches: the Hispaniola Trench and Puerto Rico Trench, which put the area at a higher risk of earthquakes.

4. The streams and rivers of this country used to be home to a sacred reptile, which has since gone extinct.
FALSE.
The “sacred reptile” in question is the Common Basilisk, or Jesus Christ Lizard, found in Central and South American rainforests. In Costa Rica, it is found mostly on the Pacific side of the country, while the Green lizard is found on the Atlantic side. It is famous for its ability to walk on water.

5. For centuries, coastal farmers used a powerful fertilizer that covered the rocks on the tip of this peninsula area during the dry season. Thus giving this area its descriptive name.
TRUE.
The Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve is situated at the extreme southern tip of the Nicoya Peninsula. Since the times of the Conquistadores, it has been known as the "White Cape" or Cabo Blanco because encrusted guano covers the rocks in dry season. Guano manure is an effective fertilizer due to its high levels of phosphorus and nitrogen. It also lacks odor.

6. This animal, which can be found in the National Park located just below the bottom right corner of the image, comes down from its perch twice a day to feed its young.
FALSE.
The National Park in question is Corcovado National Park, on the south coast of Costa Rica, near to the border with Panama. Corcovado has been called “the most biologically intense place on Earth” by National Geographic. It is home to the two-toed sloth, a nocturnal mammal known for its lethargic behavior, which pretty much spends its life hanging from a tree. The sloth eats, sleeps, mates and gives birth all while hanging upside down. It descends from the canopy once a week to defecate. Forest guides will tell you that sloths do not even climb down in the event that their young falls from the tree.

The country shown in this image is Costa Rica.

More than 500 people from around the world sent in responses before the deadline. Individuals who answered all questions correctly are listed below in the order in which responses were received. PLEASE NOTE: We have assigned 4 winners to this quiz as Tony Stirling was also a winner of our previous quiz, Quiz #25, and received a print image last time. All 4 winners will receive a print of the MISR image. The prize winners are indicated by an asterisk. Well done to all and thank you for participating!

  1. Steven Janowiecki, Bloomington, IN *
  2. Jens Schuessler, Frankfurt, Germany *
  3. Tony Stirling, Henderson, NV
  4. Martin K, Marburg, Germany *
  5. Kristin Poinar, Seattle, WA *
  6. Aegir Hallmundur, Brighton, UK
  7. Doctor Science, Hopewell, NJ
  8. S Van Norden, Montreal, Canada
  9. Rutger Kassies, Wageningen, Netherlands
10. Glenn Fischer, Baton Rouge, LA
11. Rafael G M, Xalapa, Mexico
12. Adam Danger, White River Junction, VT
13. Howard Glen, Edmonton, Canada
14. Guido Andres Riego, Buenos Aires, Argentina
15. MGD
16. Marcus Scherer, Karlsruhe, Germany
17. Terry Schumaker, Astoria, OR
18. Dean Colfax, Cape Coral, FL
19. Marion Florjancic, Crotone, Italy
20. E.S., Santa Clara, CA
21. Stella C, Berkeley, CA
22. SJKelly, San Francisco, CA
23. Ted Liljeholm, Portland, OR
24. Greg Mizell, Colorado Springs, CO
25. F. Nelson, Dunedin, New Zealand
26. Kate C, St. Paul, MN
27. JN, los Osos, CA
28. Lisa, Stephens City, VA
29. Miguel Telles, Brasilia, Brazil
30. JBS, Davis, CA
31. TMM, Laramie, WY

Credit: Image Credit: NASA/GSFC/LaRC/JPL, MISR Team
Text acknowledgement: Amber Jenkins and Karen Yuen, JPL

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