The Mediterranean Sea physically separates--but in other ways unites--southern Europe, the Middle East, and northern Africa.
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.
Surrounded by sand dunes, Lake Disappointment is an ephemeral salt lake in one of the most remote areas of Western Australia. An early explorer supposedly named the lake in 1897 after following a number of creeks that he thought would lead to a large lake; they did, but the lake's extremely salty water was not drinkable.
Like frantic brushstrokes, fire scars cover the arid landscape near Lake Amadeus (upper right) in Australia's Northern Territory. Lake Amadeus is rich in salts that have been leached out of underlying sediments. When dry, its lake bed is transformed into a glistening sheet of white salt crystals.
The eastern side of Russia's Kamchatka Peninsula juts into the Pacific Ocean west of Alaska. In this winter image, a volcanic terrain is hidden under snow-covered peaks and valley glaciers feed blue ice into coastal waters.
Meandering wadis combine to form dense, branching networks across the stark, arid landscape of southeastern Jordan. The Arabic word "wadi" means a gulley or streambed that typically remains dry except after drenching, seasonal rains.
Fed by multiple waterways, Brazil's Negro River is the Amazon River's largest tributary. The mosaic of partially-submerged islands visible in the channel disappears when rainy season downpours raise the water level.
Soaring, snow-capped peaks and ridges of the eastern Himalaya Mountains create an irregular white-on-red patchwork between major rivers in southwestern China. The Himalayas are made up of three parallel mountain ranges that together extend more than 2,900 kilometers.
Dark-colored volcanic cones sprout from an ancient lava field known as Harrat Al Birk along Saudi Arabia's Red Sea coastline. Many such lava fields dot the Arabian Peninsula and range in age from 2 million to 30 million years old.
Like swirls of paint on an enormous canvas, shallow lakes, mudflats, and salt marshes share the sinuous valleys on Iran's largely uninhabited Dasht-e Kavir, or Great Salt Desert.
142 million years ago, an asteroid or comet slammed into what is now the Missionary Plains in Australia's Northern Territory, forming a crater 24 kilometers in diameter and 5 kilometers deep. Today, like a bull's eye, the circular ring of hills that defines Gosses Bluff stands as a stark reminder of the event.