Earth Matters

March Puzzler: Ready to Hunt for “Eggs” with Satellites?

March 22nd, 2016 by Kathryn Hansen


Every month on Earth Matters, we offer a puzzling satellite image and ask you to tell us what part of the world we are looking at, when the image was acquired, what the image shows, and why the scene is interesting.

However, this March we have a special challenge with a seasonal theme (at least in the Northern Hemisphere, where spring has sprung). Join us for a remote-sensing-themed egg hunt. And by “eggs,” we mean colorful, oval-shaped lakes and ponds somewhat like those pictured above.

The first part of the challenge is to guess the location of the lakes in the image above, just like we do with our puzzler images most months. The second part is to find other colorful egg-like lakes that you think we’ll like.

When you find a good candidate, send us a screenshot and the latitude and longitude of the lake by submitting it as a comment on this blog post. We will include the most interesting lakes sent in by readers in a special image gallery that we will publish later this spring.

Some other guidance and suggestions:

+Search tools. You can use any tools you like to search for colorful lakes. Google Maps, Worldview, Visible Earth, the Earth Observatory archives, and the Gateway to Astronaut Photography may be useful.

+Make sure your lakes are reasonably large. We’ll be using Landsat (30 meters per pixel) or MODIS (250 meters per pixel) data to make the final images. If you have to zoom all the way in on Goggle Maps to see your lake, you are viewing commercial satellite imagery that has a resolution of a few meters per pixels or less. Lakes should have diameters of at least a few hundred meters to show up well in Landsat imagery.

+The more unusual the color, the better. Submitting a lake with a “normal” color is fine, but it will have a smaller chance of making the cut for our final gallery.

+Earth, please. Our focus will be on lakes on Earth. You are more than welcome to share egg-like features you spot on other planets with us, but they won’t make our final gallery.

+It’s a #SpaceEggHunt. Tag your social media posts about this with #SpaceEggHunt. In addition to the blog, we’ll monitor that hashtag for submissions.

+Explain the color. Tell us why you think the lake has such an unusual color as part of your comment. While part of the goal here is to have fun and hunt for lake eggs to celebrate spring, the final gallery will delve more deeply into the science behind lake color and how that can be useful for scientists.

+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. If you find makes the final gallery, your name will be mentioned.

 Good luck and happy hunting!

20 Responses to “March Puzzler: Ready to Hunt for “Eggs” with Satellites?”

  1. Mark says:

    This is awesome! I’m going hunting!

  2. Abigail Engel says:

    I Love A Challenge, I’m in. New for me! Yay!

  3. David E. Ways says:

    Happy Easter!

    from Down Under

    Lat 34°13’29.90″S
    Lon 117°41’56.57″E


  4. Paulie says:

    Salt lakes of South West, Western Australia, Cranbrook region. Just out of shot is the Stirling Range National Park.
    South West WA is a biodiversity hotspot, mixed in with established intensive agriculture.
    Amazing part of the world.

  5. Jimbo Kyrke says:

    The picture is awesome indeed. Were the lakes caused by meteorite strikes in pre-history? From the pattern, I imagined a small asteroid on a shallow impact path disintegrating as it hit the atmosphere.

  6. Norman Becker says:

    A whole plethora of near perfect egg shaped lakes exist on the Victorian side of the NSW-Victorian border south of the Murray river between Kerang and Swan Hill. Some of the larger lakes include Lake Charm and Lake Boga.

    Google Maps Ref,143.81584,42418m/data=!3m1!1e3

  7. Gavin McMorrow says:

    Milyunup, Munrillup, Racecourse, Horseshoe & Balicup Lakes : Western Australia : -34.252, 117.730 :

  8. Michael G says:

    Located in northern Alaska, USA. There are hundreds of such lakes, they are increasing in size and number.

    They are thought to form as a result of climate change (warming) that is especially noticeable in the arctic. The shape of the lakes appear to all orient themselves in the direction of permafrost thawing but the dynamics of this are unknown. Recent theories includes slumping of the permafrost as is thaws through the entire thickness of the layer, instead of just the upper layer.

    The lakes are among the fastest growing lakes on record, increasing in a linear (hence egg shape) direction at about 3m a year, towards the northeast.

  9. Koen says:

    Sakhalin island :
    52° 0’17.93″N
    (and further north)

    Northern Russia

  10. Hueva says:

    You asked for it … Egg Lake with mother Goose Lake just above,-101.4472397,56578m/data=!3m1!1e3

  11. Viacheslav Zgonnik says:

    These places are seepages of natural molecular hydrogen (H2). We tested many of them on different continents. Check our the most recent article about Carolana bays – egg-like structures in North Carolina, USA

    34.687559° -78.601287°
    There are around 500 000 of them on the Atlantic cost of the USA alone. But similar structures are present on all continents!

  12. Ramon says:

    Looks like a asteroid impact that desintegrated

  13. Miyah Sundermeyer says:

    Lake Victoria, which covers half of Uganda and Tanzania and was named and Discovered by Queen Victoria,,30.8175359,968745m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m2!3m1!1s0x19d18e2143b96ce1:0x5df3e171f5566538

  14. Miyah Sundermeyer says:

    I am from Minnesota, which is also called “The Land of 10,000 lakes.” In representation, I have Lake Mille Lacs which is one of the largest in the state but also shallow if I recall.,-93.461358,70199m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m2!3m1!1s0x4d585b9a60780b9b:0x2a2c99b10fea20f

    • Miyah Sundermeyer says:

      The Latitude of Mille Lacs is:
      Degrees Minutes Seconds:
      Latitude: 46-14’00” N
      Longitude: 093-39’01” W
      Decimal Degrees:
      Latitude: 46.23329
      Longitude: -93.6502459

      Information on Mille Lacs: Located in Mille Lacs County MN and the depth is 42 feet.

      According to my research much of the lakes in Minnesota were formed by Glaciers and there are three types of lakes in Minnesota. In particular, Mille Lacs is known as a moraine lake which was formed by conveyor type belts. These movements bring debris from the top to the bottom and over time the debris settles on the bottom.

  15. Georg Pointner says:

    Salt Lakes near Masazir, Azerbaijan. 40.507264 N, 49.794782 E

    The color is caused by microscopic organisms living in the water and crust of the salt lakes.
    I found an OLI-scene, where the largest lake is light-blue colored and the second-largest lake nearby kind of looks a bit like a fried egg in natural color :). Unfortunately I can’t post screenshot here.
    The scenewas acquired on June 23, 2015. LC81670322015174LGN00.