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The natural world. Looking pretty for 3.5b years.

Surreal Landscapes

Surreal Landscapes

Author: Hugh Bollinger/Monday, December 23, 2019/Categories: natural history, photography, space science, art and design, environment, adventure

             Lana River Delta, Siberian Arctic (credit: University of Minnesota)

Sometimes photographs from space look more surreal than real. That's the way this image of Siberia's Lena River delta appears. The pair of high-resolution photographs were acquired by Earth monitoring satellites as stereo pairs to determine landscape elevations. According to NASA, the largest streams weave to the east and northeast before splitting into smaller streams that continue meandering across the tundra. Vegetation appears green; white likely represents regions scoured by spring floods; while mudflats and other areas covered by shallow water appear bluish.

           

                            Lana River Delta details (credit: UMN)

Lakes and ponds dot the tundra each summer when the top 8-16 inches of permafrost thaws. The remaining frozen layers below act like hard bottom of a swimming pool, preventing the lakes from draining. However, lakes sometime disappear entirely when cracks in the melting permafrost develop that allow the water to drain off into the ground.

The Siberian river certainly look like it could have been a surreal painting by a crazed Russian artist.

WHB

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