Australia's Kimberley Plateau
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This Landsat 7 image shows a portion of the Kimberley Plateau, situated north of the Great Sandy Desert in a remote stretch of the province of Western Australia. In this scene, the Durack, Chamberlain, and Ord Rivers wind their way northward to the Joseph Bonaparte Gulf. The long elongated water bodies in the north are backwaters from the Timor Sea.

Note the prominent fire scars (reddish brown patches) in the otherwise densely-vegetated area (green indicates vegetated terrain). Fire scars show where the plant canopy has mostly burned away, exposing the fine geological details of the surface below. During the summer months, lightning strikes can quickly spark dozens of wildfires across Australia’s Western and Northern Territories, giving the landscape its mottled appearance. The darker brown the burn scar, the more recent the burn. Note the very fine red-orange ribbons toward the upper right corner of this image, showing the locations of active fires. Smoke from the fires billows due westward like translucent blue smudges in this false-color scene. Lake Argyle sits due south of the flames and smoke, its waters a cool, sapphire blue.

This image was acquired by Landsat 7’s Enhanced Thematic Mapper plus (ETM+) sensor on September 19, 1999. This is a false-color composite image made using shortwave infrared, near-infrared, and blue wavelengths (ETM+ bands 7, 4, & 1).

Image provided by the Goddard Space Flight Center’s Landsat Team and the Australian ground receiving station teams

Australia's Kimberley Plateau

April 14, 2003
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