Earth Matters

January Puzzler

January 13th, 2014 by Adam Voiland

Every month we offer a puzzling satellite image here on Earth Matters. The January 2014 puzzler is above. Your challenge is to use the comments section to tell us what the image shows, what part of the world we are looking at, when the image was acquired, and why the scene is interesting.

How to answer. Your answer can be a few words or several paragraphs. (Try to keep it shorter than 200 words). You might simply tell us what part of the world an image shows. Or you can dig deeper and explain what satellite and instrument produced the image, what spectral bands were used to create it, or what is compelling about some obscure speck in the far corner of an image. If you think something is interesting or noteworthy, tell us about it.

The prize. We can’t offer prize money, but, we can promise you credit and glory (well, maybe just credit). Roughly one week after a puzzler image appears on this blog, we will post an annotated and captioned version as our Image of the Day. In the credits, we’ll acknowledge the person who was first to correctly ID the image. We’ll also recognize people who offer the most interesting tidbits of information. Please include your preferred name or alias with your comment. If you work for an institution that you want us to recognize, please mention that as well.

Recent winners. If you’ve won the puzzler in the last few months or work in geospatial imaging, please sit on your hands for at least a few days to give others a chance to play.

Releasing Comments. Savvy readers have solved many of our puzzlers after only a few minutes or hours. To give more people a chance to play, we’re going to wait between 24-48 hours before posting the answers we receive in the comment thread.

42 Responses to “January Puzzler”

  1. Alev says:

    some very sad glaciers that have been retreating for a long time somewhere in afghanistan or pakistan..

  2. André Neves says:

    Glaciers on a mountain range.
    The place i suspect it’s Greenland. Can’t go more precise.
    Anyways, cool picture =)

  3. Arezu Omaraee- Hamedani says:

    The picture is a close up of part of the Himalayan mountain range in Central Asia.

  4. JPMajor says:

    Dry Valleys, Antarctica.

  5. erin butler says:

    I am thinking it is in the Andes because there is not a lot of snow with it and since it is there summer there… Very lovely

  6. Mike Chillit says:

    Himalaya mountains.

  7. Mark Secosh says:

    I agree with Arezu Omaraee. I say north slope of Himalayas SW of Dongzha, Tibet.

  8. Christeas George says:

    Ice in the valleys of a mnt Range. Himalayas most Likely due to Repetition and Size. Runoof looks at bottom therfore Summer glacier left overs. The Result of Plate Tectonics when ~300 bill. years ago plus,India crashedto Eurasia .

  9. tai1 says:

    Tears of the Earth, The Earth is sad because of the Earth Warming.

  10. Dillon says:

    82°46′ W 80°52′ N
    Ellesmere Island Canada,

  11. Alana Morton says:

    I think it’s the Andes… maybe in Argentina or Chile. Appears to be Glaciers and they are sadly in retreat. picture seems to have been taken mid morning to mid day.

  12. Tudor Palela says:

    These are glacier tongues and I think the image is from Tian Shan mountains. If I look to the shadows, I realise the image was taken in the afternoon. I think the image is from GeoEye-1 or other commercial satellite. The scene is interesting because it shows the structure of a mountain glacier: glacial cirque, ice tongue, and terminal moraine.

  13. Fabian Keirn says:

    I think this image is showing the dry valleys in Antarctica. It was taken during the Southern Hemisphere’s summer. The glaciers there are retreating leaving behind large terminal moraines.

  14. Margaret says:

    My guess is Bylot island, Nunavut Territory, Canada

  15. Beth Gediger says:

    I agree — north slop of the Himalayas in Tibet. far headwaters of the Brahmaputra.

  16. Ryn Covine says:

    The Swiss Alps.

  17. Robert says:

    Southern Chile, Chilean andys

  18. Robert says:

    Chacaltaya glacier, Bolivia

  19. K V Ravindran, says:

    These are parallel glacier valleys in summer, glacier snouts have retreated. With plenty of clouds cover in the northern parts. Probably of Himalayas

  20. Ariel Hadari says:

    Finger lakes in US. By these piq we can see the geomorphology of high beside low levels of the earth surface.

  21. sajith says:

    dont know where the place is.but the interest is it is 1441. US legal code. also the human gene 1441 control production and differentiation of granulocytes.
    is it himalayan gaciers?

  22. Kent Sawatzky says:

    AlASKA Brooks range in summer

  23. Vijayan R says:

    Todays Glaciers – Tomorrows river. The Lovely glaciers are expanding because of winter in Himalayan desert Ladakh – Leh.

  24. Pipas Ghosh says:

    it is a pic of hanging valley

  25. Pipas Ghosh says:

    hanging valley

  26. Mujeeb Alam says:

    It is in the Karakorum mountain range in the northern Pakistan

  27. C.B. Houkes says:

    I was thinking more of the Pamir or Tien Shan Mountains. But on Google Earth I couldn’t quickly find a spot that corresponds with the image above. Will have to continue searching…

    What I noticed, is the visible presence of distinct rock layers, striking roughly perpendicularly to the mountain ridges and glaciers.

    Greenland is not very likely, because glaciers over there usually end near the coast in a fjord-like landscape.
    It’s not in the Dry Valley’s (Antarctica) either; just search for a picture and you’ll see why.
    I consider Alaska and Canada to be unlikely as well, because generally there is more water and vegetation up there.

  28. Angela Bee says:

    I think the image may be from the Wakhan Corridor, Afphanistan–Zemestan Glacier. This area has undergone quite a bit of retreate, with the greatest in the early 2000s. I would love to seen an annotated image with comparison images.

  29. kelley says:

    Geologically, this image is showing retreating glaciers, leaving behind it’s sediment load which is called a terminal moraine. The glacier is cutting through steeply dipping sedimentary layers in the mountains and across what I would guess to be a fault escarpment (sharp transition from mountains to flat plains in image).

  30. Fabian Keirn says:

    I think what is striking about this image is the number of valleys that are parallel to each other.

  31. Alev says:

    There is a spot names as Deh Gol close to Wakhan Corridor in Afghanistan quite close to these glaciers. Perhaps..

  32. Frank Tennick says:

    what is interesting is that it looks like ‘basin & range’ topography – so could be in the USA.
    The white ‘glaciers’ or debris flows sitting in the valleys all seem to start at a common point – there is a distinct colour change at their stating points. Not sure if this marks some sort of fault or topographic discontinuity.
    The high ground, between the valleys is sparsely scattered with snow?
    in the lower part of the image the ‘debris flows’ are still present – BUT because of the angle at which the image was taken these are not as bright as in the upper part of the image.
    the upper left hand side of the image is masked by some cloud cover.
    An interesting puzzle – i look forward to the answer

  33. Alev says:

    I am guessing as 36°25′15″ N 71°29′25″ E.

  34. Richard says:

    Central Ellesmere Island = typical cold based glaciers! South facing!! Picture taken in summer when winter snow has melted, very little summer ablation due to high latitude hence no discernible meltwater runoff

  35. Jason Allard says:

    Cordillera with retreating glaciers

  36. julien says:

    Western Kunlun Shan, south of Golmud, Tibetan plateau, China

  37. Leonida says:

    The snow in this picture looks almost splattered paint on a cloth.However i think it was taken in afghanistan when the ice retreats

  38. Roy Ballard says:

    Tibetan plateau adjacent to a sunken region.

  39. sandy says:

    Himalayas in Tibet.