Earth Matters

July Puzzler

July 5th, 2016 by Adam Voiland


Every month on Earth Matters, we offer a puzzling satellite image. The July 2016 puzzler is above. Your challenge is to use the comments section 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.

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 a blog post, 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 about the geological, meteorological, or human processes that have played a role in molding the landscape. 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 day to give others a chance to play.

Releasing Comments. Savvy readers have solved some 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.

Good luck!

Update: The answer is posted here.

15 Responses to “July Puzzler”

  1. C.B.H. says:

    I was instantly thinking of Peru or Chile, where low clouds and fog from the Pacific Ocean often cover the coastal plains, reaching far inland until being blocked by the Andes Mountains. Some tendrils of fog reach further into the lower river valleys. In fact, this can be frequently observed along all coastal mountain ranges across the world.
    The puzzler image is similar to this older satellite image by NASA EO:

  2. JohnnyMorales says:

    Fog creeping up on the Himalayan Foothills

  3. Donal says:

    Amazonian deforestation resulting in higher temperatures and lack of mist.

  4. Michael Soloman says:

    Snow in the Andes in Chile by the Atacama desert.

  5. dirka dirka says:

    Clouds are not sporadic, they lay within valleys showing the perimeter as well as highest peaks of valley where there is no cloud coverage eh.

    • Luella says:

      Non avevo mia pensato alla pornografia in questi termini, e la possibilità è in effetti intrigante.Detto ciò, il video della squinzia in bikini è lontano parecchio dalla &q&fo;ptrnograoiauquot;, anche in una vecchia accezione del termine, e per distrarci dai "veri" problemi bastano i varietà in prima serata e il campionato di calcio…

  6. utkarsha Saxena says:

    Western Ghats of India. Monsoon comes in India these are heavy clouds . And image may be take by weather forecasting satellite.

  7. Peter M says:

    I haven’t got a clue where it is but the cloud formation is interesting because it appears dendritic but at an enormous scale, and it’s as if the ridges act as nucleation sites for the cloud or maybe fog. I found this on twitter, I am curious to see what the answer is.

  8. kamachandan says:

    snow over Amazon forest area.

  9. Alex P says:

    [please forgive a novice] Judging by orientation of sunlight, this image appears to be in the southern hemisphere.

  10. Eric says:

    The clouds are low and valley filling – see the snow patch in the upper right to confirm what is ridges and what is valleys. This suggests that it’s fog, and locally produced rather than fog that blew in – it doesn’t appear to be going over ridges too much, as blown clouds would. As such I’d guess it’s due to an inversion layer, or perhaps it is hiding a large reservoir that is filling the valley.

    The sun is hitting it from the southeast, so it was captured in the morning, which fits with fog. I’m unsure if it’s in the northern or Southern Hemisphere – in the summer the sun can rise in the southeast in the Southern Hemisphere, (though it is due north at noon), but a bit later in the day it would be in the northern part of the sky. Depending on latitude and time of day, it could be either hemisphere to produce those shadows. (I think – I don’t have math for this).

    The snow on the ridge shows that it’s spring/summer – snow falls in blankets and melts into patches, so it’s snowmelt time. The weird thing is that snow melts much more rapidly on south facing slopes than north facing ones at middle northern hemisphere latitudes. This snow seems to be on both sides of the ridge, although it is hard to tell with the shadows. This could mean the location is pretty low latitude.

    That would fit with the pattern of the hills – it’s clearly not glacial terrain, (no glaciers there during the last ice age), so it can’t be very high in latitude or elevation. It obviously does get some snow, so that restricts things – my bet is its somewhere that has the snowpack melt by spring rather than early summer.

    The patterns of vegetation are interesting. There are clearly some clearcuts, but other patches seem to follow natural feature, including some landslides. I’m thinking Himalayan foothills, low mountains in India or Brazil.

  11. Ajay Kunnath says:

    Fog over the Scottish highlands?

  12. Adelaide says:

    I believe is a rarely seen cap of ice and clouds over Machu Picchu, Peru in the cordilleras mountains. July is considered winter time and also lots of precipitation happen in high altitude causing the ice caps to firm. On the far right you can see the ruins of staircases which are found in Machu Picchu if we could go farther right we would also be able to see the temple ruins etc…

  13. D. Rogus says:

    The image is dense fog in the Bitterroot Mountains, Idaho.
    The image was captured Nov. 1, 2015.