Status Report

NASA MODIS Image of the Day: December 3, 2011 – Snow in the Rockies

By SpaceRef Editor
December 3, 2011
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NASA MODIS Image of the Day: December 3, 2011 – Snow in the Rockies
NASA MODIS Image of the Day: December 3, 2011 - Snow in the Rockies


A late autumn snow blanketed the Rocky Mountains on November 26, 2011, when the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard the Aqua satellite captured this true-color image as it passed over the region.

The state in the center of the image, with the snow-covered Rockies in the western half and the nearly snow-free high plains in the eastern half is Colorado.

Near the center of that state, a mountain peak in the Front Range is capped in bright white; this is Pikes Peak, which rises 14,115 feet (4,302 m) and is a designated National Historic Landmark. Due north lies the Denver metropolitan area, which can be seen as a gray mark on the tan landscape. Between Pikes Peak and Denver, a green crescent shape can be seen. This is the Black Forest, an island of pine trees on the prairie. Colorado touches seven states, parts of each which can be seen in this image. From the west clockwise is Utah, with the Great Salt Lake and Bonneville Salt Flats, Wyoming with both mountains and the Great Plains covered in widespread snow, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Arizona. The Colorado River can be seen rising from the Western Slopes of Colorado’s southern Rocky Mountains and winding through Colorado, southern Utah and northern Arizona. The rugged features of the Grand Canyon, carved by the Colorado River, form a red-colored serpentine in northwest Arizona. In contrast to the dry brown prairies, the green coniferous forests and the bright white snow, an orange-tinted area broadly surrounds the Colorado River in Utah and Arizona. This is “red rock country”, a part of the Colorado Plateau rich in orange-red colored sedimentary rock, much of which had its origins in sediment laid down when shallow marine waters inundated this area, as early as the Paleozoic era.

SpaceRef staff editor.