Letter Y: Ugab River, Namibia
acquired December 25, 2000 download large image (3 MB, JPEG, 2000x2000)

Today’s Image of the Day is derived from our newest feature: Reading the ABCs from Space.

You there, Y…what begins with Y?

If you like to travel, you might take a trip to Yellowstone, America’s first national park. While there, look carefully to see if you can tell which parts of the park were affected by a massive forest fire in 1988. Nearly two decades later, you should still be able to find evidence of charred vegetation and altered ecosystems, especially on high-elevation plateaus.

If chilly weather is more to your liking, you might explore the Yukon Delta in Alaska. On this mostly treeless terrain, you will see vast communities of waterfowl and migratory birds nesting in the summer.

If it is the ocean that inspires you, the Yellow Sea offers a unique destination. This shallow sea is one of the most turbid and dynamic coastal regions in the world. It is also home to some of the busiest shipping lanes and thriving aquaculture centers.

And, of course, keep an eye out for the confluence of streams and rivers the next time you find yourself in the window seat on a flight. The confluence of rivers often draws giant Y-shapes on the landscape. On December 25, 2000, the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) on NASA’s Terra satellite captured this false-color image of the Ugab River running through folded rock formations in northern Namibia.

Click here to see our entire satellite alphabet gallery.

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story reported that the riverbeds ran through a field of yardangs. In fact, the rock formations are folded carbonate turbidites. However, there are reportedly “mega-yardangs” in Namibia. You can read about them here and see a satellite image here.

Image provided by NASA/GSFC/METI/ERSDAC/JAROS, and U.S./Japan ASTER Science Team. Caption by Adam Voiland.

Instrument(s): 
Terra - ASTER

Letter Y: Ugab River, Namibia

December 26, 2015
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