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Earth Matters

March 2014 Puzzler

March 24th, 2014 by Adam Voiland


Every month we offer a puzzling satellite image here on Earth Matters. The March 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 or attend 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 may wait between 24-48 hours before posting the answers we receive in the comment thread.

57 Responses to “March 2014 Puzzler”

  1. fatima says:

    Somewhere arid. Salt ponds on the coast. Mud volcanism just offshore?

  2. Mari Lisicki says:

    Fish farming ?

  3. Yves Hardy says:

    In the Phillipines, another victim of Indian ocean rising, what we see is a disapered island.

    • Yves Hardy says:

      Reply to myself, in North Atlantic, the ice beeing thawed, we see a new island and fresh cultures…i<m not contagious.

  4. Lorn J. Fant says:

    Pakistan, Salt pans, because of an earthquake in 2013 created a new island.

  5. Jonathan says:

    Yellow River delta, isn’t it?

  6. Roham says:

    Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf

  7. Doug Fairbanks says:

    It’s a puzzle so I will not research too much & rather go with my first impression!
    I feel it is an area that lies next to a large shallow salt water deposit. The greenish farm-like sub-divisions are for harvesting salt, after the areas have been flooded & the water removed by evaporation.

  8. zeeshan aslam says:

    basically this interesting image of a phemenon is just come into being due to tem. variation on the continental and oceanic area

  9. Martine Lavarière says:

    Table Mountain and Cape Town in South Africa?!

  10. Steve Martin says:

    The island is not a product of volcanism it’s formed as part of a river delta I’m working on the location and the ponds are for either shrimp or fish farming by the looks of them

  11. Miguel says:

    Delta del tigre, Uruguay.

  12. Dyana Babik says:

    Plat Map of Rock Quarry

  13. Lulljon says:

    Nile delta, Egypt.

    Dedicate to Jersey City Public Schools

  14. Lisa Cliver says:

    A record-breaking bloom of algae in Lake Erie in October, 2011 is seen in this Landsat-5 satellite image. The green scum is mostly Microcystis, which produces a liver toxin and can cause skin irritation

  15. valentina vega-eck says:

    River delta, fish or shrimp farms, South America Atlantic coast, warm weather zone

  16. Carl says:

    Southern coast of China is my guess.

    With fish farms.

  17. Delbert Bassett says:

    Is this one of the atolls just off the coast of Madagascar in the Madagascar Channel? It doesn’t seem to have the correct shape but is very similar to Bassas da India or Ile Europa in that general area.

  18. Nick M says:

    I think this is a series of fish farms in South Africa, probably during the summer time. It is interesting because the vast fish farms are hugely important to the local economy but have an equally large impact on the environment.

  19. parvin says:

    sea river and city

  20. Sheila de Sá says:

    Is the river Madeira fronter from Acre?
    Realytyn very desaster!

  21. Sheila de Sá says:

    “tsunami” in the region Amazonia, est, fronteier from Acre, analogie perfect!!

  22. Aaron Greenlee says:

    We are looking at the mud island off the coast of Pakistan.

  23. Mike Beatrice says:

    Houston Ship Channel. Oil spill.

  24. Mary Beth Grant says:

    Prince William Sound in 1989. Exxon Valdez spill. Happy anniversary…?

  25. David says:

    Tulum, Mexico

  26. Mike says:

    The island that has arisen after an earthquake near the coast of Pakistan within the last year.

  27. Stephen Harwood says:

    Nile River delta Alexandria

  28. Liz Rodriguez Mossad says:

    Colima Mexico salt pans.

  29. Jessica Watson says:

    I think it’s a river Delta……maybe the gulf coast in the states or the amazon???

  30. Zain Nowar says:

    Flooding in Somerset uk

  31. Jessica Watson says:

    …..or an old phosphorus mine or a quarry of some kind….

  32. micha says:

    England flood!

  33. Stefon says:

    Dark area, bottom – middle = isn’t that a profile of Alfred Hitchcock? – Real answer = its probably California lakes 2014, drying up somewhere (USA, west coast)

  34. dj-agiledev says:

    Coastal flooding in New Zealand photographed from the IIS.

  35. Kristin says:

    Polders being built in the Netherlands!

  36. Val says:

    Black Sea

  37. Aspen Tanum says:

    San francisco bay south of oakland.

  38. Kamal Ahmed Kamal says:

    The island is Hainan in the south of China.

  39. SUNDARI says:

    Its a jelly fish.

  40. Susan Oltman says:

    Shoreline of Glacier National Park

  41. Kamal Ahmed Kamal says:

    The small cavity at the corner of the image is other island near of Hong Kong.

  42. Caleb Slater says:

    I want to say a salt farm on the coast somewhere in Asia…

  43. Dan G says:


  44. Hannah Thoreson says:

    it is the dams in the Netherlands which are built to prevent flooding

  45. Anna says:

    Guerrero Negro, Baja California

  46. Yiannis Raftopoulos says:

    It looks like a Mediterranean lagoon. I can’t be more precise unfortunately..

  47. albert bazzi says:

    shrimp farms myanmar,Asia

  48. NacMacFeegle says:

    Coast of Denmark


    The South Pole. The figure is a spherical view of the South pole projected onto a 2-D plane. The bright and clearly distinguishable boundaries (cells) are a characteristic function of the satellite resolution.

  50. Dennis waite says:

    looks like a form of- Allege- most likely in the south American region of earth.