Status Report

NASA MODIS Image of the Day: March 13, 2011 – Baja California

By SpaceRef Editor
March 13, 2011
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NASA MODIS Image of the Day: March 13, 2011 – Baja California
NASA MODIS Image of the Day: March 13, 2011 - Baja California


The dry and rugged lands of western Mexico and the Baja California Peninsula were clearly visible from space on a nearly cloud-free day in late winter 2011.

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard the Aqua satellite captured this true-color image on March 9, 2011.

In the north, the Imperial Valley, south of the Salton Sea, appears a relatively lush green. This rich agricultural area spans the border between Mexico and the United States. In the center of the green vegetation, a large circle of gray can be seen. This is the metropolitan area formed by two cities: Mexicali, Mexico and Calexico, California. To the south, the Colorado River spills tan sediments into the Gulf of California. The Baja California Peninsula extends south 1250 km (775 mi) and connects to the mainland of Mexico by only a small band of land in the north. The arid climate limits the amount of vegetation that can grow, allowing the rugged features of the volcanic mountains to be seen, including the calderas and volcanic rocks along the east-central coast. Along the west coast, roughly one third of the length from north to south, the land juts sharply westward. The El Vizcaino Biosphere Reserve comprises 2,546,790 hectares in this area, extending from the Pacific to the Gulf of California, making it Mexico’s largest protected areas. Although the land appears harsh and austere from space, the Reserve is biologically rich, with extremely important marine resources. Over 300 terrestrial and marine vertebrates (not including fish) inhabit the Reserve, along with 469 flora species, most of which are shrubs and small trees. Well over 100 species of fish live in the waters off of the coasts, and the Reserve’s waters provide breeding grounds for the gray whale. The whales live in the waters off of both coasts and migrate into the bays of Ojo de Liebre and San Ignacio for breeding. These same bays are also important wintering grounds for many migratory birds.

SpaceRef staff editor.