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Capturing Earth's Dynamics

amazing image

© S. Dominguez/Géosciences Montpellier/ CNRS Photothèque

This seemingly abstract painting of a dinosaur skull is actually a map of a part of Iran's coastline near Khamir, where the northward-moving Arabian tectonic plate and the Eurasian plate collide. The resulting folds are the Zagros Mountain Range.
The map was developed by researchers from the Geosciences Montpellier lab1 using the Landsat 7etm+ satellite. Remote sensing was used to obtain digital photographs taken from space in which different components of the Earth's surface are captured at different wavelengths and then combined into a single false-color picture.
This technique lets researchers create evolving records of the Earth's surface. It is a particularly useful tool for surveying inaccessible areas, and furnishing dynamic data for patterns of erosion, sedimentation, the nature and age of rocks, and tectonic activity. Such information will help evaluate the global dynamics of the Earth's natural processes and the effects of human interventions.

Sarah MacKenzie

Notes :

1. CNRS / Université Montpellier-II.

Contacts :

Stephane Dominguez,
Géosciences Montpellier


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