Date: Sat, 10.04.21 13:00
MODIS Pic of the Day 10 April 2021
Green vegetation, red soils, and muddy rivers color northeastern
Madagascar at the end of the rainy season in early April 2021. The
Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on board NASA’s
Terra satellite acquired this true-color image on April 4.
Northwestern Madagascar has been described as a mosaic of dry deciduous
forest, degraded secondary forests, and grasslands. Roughly 2,000 years
ago—before widespread human habitation and impact on the island—this
region was thickly covered in forest. Over time, the forest was burned,
primarily to make way for agriculture and pasturage, leaving secondary
grasslands behind. While undisturbed dry deciduous forests teem with
life, giving home to a high number of endemic plant and animal species,
the grasslands are relatively sterile ecosystems with low diversity and
a high number of non-native plant species. While remnant forests tend
to be small and disconnected in a patchwork-like pattern with
grasslands interspersed, the forests are still vitally important to
biodiversity on the island.
Most of Madagascar’s rivers originate in the highlands in the island’s
interior. They pick up large amounts of sediment there, often from the
iron-rich red soils and rocks called laterites. Those colorful waters
flow down toward one of several silty deltas along the coast. The
largest river in this image (and in Madagascar) is the Betsiboka River.
It appears muddy-red, with braided channels that pour into the
Mozambique Channel. The color comes from iron-rich sediment that has
been washed into the river in the high central plateau region and the
mountains, then carried northwestward to the broad coastal delta.
Date Acquired: 4/4/2021
Resolutions: 1km (176.3 KB), 500m (482.5 KB), 250m (322.2
Bands Used: 1,4,3
Image Credit: MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA GSFC
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