Status Report

NASA MODIS Image of the Day: April 29, 2012 – South Georgia, South Atlantic Ocean

By SpaceRef Editor
April 29, 2012
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Clouds swirled across the South Atlantic Ocean on a sunny autumn afternoon in 2012, and parted over South Georgia Island just enough to allow a clear view of the island’s icy, rugged landscape. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this true-color image on April 26 at 17:15 UTC (3:15 p.m. South Georgia Time). South Georgia Island is a remote British overseas territory, found 2,150 km (1,336 mi) east of the tip of Tierra del Fuego, South America and 1,390 km (834 mi) east of the Falkland Islands. Once home to about 2,000 seafaring souls, the island currently has no full-time residents, but houses two Government officials and their spouses, a group of scientists at two research stations and up to four seasonal museum staff, who greet tourists in Grytviken in the summer season. The island’s long, narrow shape has been likened to a huge curved, fractured and savaged whale bone, an apt description due to the Island’s history as a base for whaling and sealing. The rugged spine of the island is made up of the Allardyce and Salvesen mountain ranges, with eleven peaks over 2,000 meters high. In winter (July to September) snow blankets the island, from the mountain peaks to the sea. In austral summer (November and January), about 75% of the island remains covered with glaciers, ice caps and snowfields. Remote South Georgia Island is an important breeding ground for many birds and mammals. Earlier this year, field workers identified a new breeding bird, the Kerguelen petrel. This bird was thought to breed only further north, but several occupied burrows were found in a small colony at the north of the island, giving evidence that this bird has been reproducing here, unnoticed, for several years.

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SpaceRef staff editor.