Resembling splotches of yellow and green paint, salt-encrusted seasonal lakes dot the floor of Western Australia's Shoemaker impact structure. The structure was formed about 1.7 billion years ago and is currently the oldest known impact site in Australia.
Earth as Art 2
Forty-five new scenes developed for their aesthetic beauty, rather than for scientific value. The artists of this collection come from three sensors aboard satellites orbiting the Earth - Landsat 7, ASTER, and MODIS.
Like a many-faceted jewel fashioned in an indigo setting, the Shetland Islands lie 210 kilometers north of the Scottish mainland in the North Atlantic Ocean. Despite their 60 degree north latitude, the Shetlands enjoy a relatively temperate climate thanks to the warming influence of the Gulf Stream.
The mountainous outcrops of Jebel Auenat rise 6000 feet above the barren, uninhabited plains of the Libyan Desert. The frontiers of Libya, Egypt and Sudan meet amidst the rugged granite of Jebel Auenat. The mountains are remnants of an ancient granitic dome. Rivers of sand meander around them, swept across the desert pavement by northeasterly winds.
The pockmarked terrain of Pinacate National Park in Mexico's Sonora Province is evidence of a violent past. Among hundreds of volcanic vents and cinder cones are rare maar craters, formed when rising magma met underground water to create pockets of steam that blew nearly circular holes in the overlying crust.
Like dark fingers, cold ocean waters reach deeply into the mountainous coastline of northern Norway, defining the fjords for which the country is famous. Flanked by snow-capped peaks, some of these ice-sculpted fjords are hundreds of meters deep.
Mimicking a cubist collage, linear windbreaks of densely planted trees surround farmsteads in this winter landscape near the city of Komsomolets in Northern Kazakhstan.
Coursing through parched, landlocked Mali in Western Africa, the Niger River flows north through an ancient sand sea before turning sharply east to skirt the edge of the dune-striped Sahara. At the confluence of the Bani and Niger Rivers is an island delta complete with narrows, twisting waterways, lagoons, and tiny islands.
Located on the Italian island of Sicily, Mt. Etna is one of the world's most active volcanoes. In this image of the volcano in 2001, a plume of steam and smoke rising from the crater drifts over some of the many dark lava flows that cover its slopes.
Turbid waters spill out into the Gulf of Mexico where their suspended sediment is deposited to form the Mississippi River Delta. Like the webbing on a duck's foot, marshes and mudflats prevail between the shipping channels that have been cut into the delta.
Mexico and Central America together form the southern half of the North American continent. From the rugged deserts of the Baja Peninsula to the steamy rain forests of Panama, the region is a land of great contrasts.