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Earth Matters

February Puzzler Answer: Deforestation in Argentina

March 20th, 2016 by Adam Voiland


It took Gavin McMorrow a mere 30 minutes to solve our February puzzler. As he pointed out, the rectangular patterns were cleared forest areas in Argentina’s Salta province. (Learn more about the area in our February 27, 2016, Image of the Day). McMorrow even recognized this was an Operational Land Imager (OLI) image from Landsat 8. Nicely done, Gavin.

It turns out he is no newcomer to space geography quizzes. In fact, if you follow him on Twitter or Instagram, you’ll find McMorrow is actually somewhat of a space geography connoisseur. McMorrow participated regularly in the #SpaceGeo and #EarthArt quizzes that astronaut Scott Kelly organized while he was on the International Space Station.

He’s also been helping Center of Geographic Sciences geographer Dave MacLean (@DaveAtCOGS) catalog the locations of¬†the photographs that astronauts on the station tweet out from orbit. In some cases,¬†astronauts aren’t sure of the feature they just photographed, and it takes time for all the images to be archived in the official database.

To see what I mean, check out MacLean’s map of Scott Kelly’s Year in Space. You can even choose to see maps for just the tweets tagged as #SpaceGeo or #EarthArt. Also helpful, MacLean (and helpers like McMorrow) track down high-resolution versions of the photos when they can. In the tweet below, for instance, McMorrow is alerting astronaut Tim Peake that an image of snow-covered mountains that Peake tweeted was a shot of mountains in Glacier National Park.

And, oh yes, in his spare time, McMorrow is solving Planet Labs geo-detective quizzes.

For a guy who enjoys space geography this much, should I mention we have a job opening?

One Response to “February Puzzler Answer: Deforestation in Argentina”

  1. Denise Skea says:

    Gavin is wonderful! I have posted a query about the exact location of one of Commander Scott Kelly’s images from the ISS, and Gavin came back withvthe details, very quickly. From then on, I’ve noticed that his name crops up in lots of times on ISS, NASA -related IG accounts. He clearly loves what he does and I’m most appreciative of his efforts.