Earth Matters

October 2016 Puzzler

October 24th, 2016 by Pola Lem


Every month on Earth Matters, we offer a puzzling satellite image. The October 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 or a trip to Mars, 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 (and also on this blog), we will acknowledge the person who was first to correctly ID the image. We may also recognize certain readers 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!

Editor’s Note: Congratulations to Peter Gunnarsson, and James Varghese for being some of the first readers to solve the puzzler on Facebook. Congratulations to Vera Maria for being the first to weigh in with the answer on Earth Matters. See a labeled version of the October puzzler here.


14 Responses to “October 2016 Puzzler”

  1. Vera Maria says:

    Kiruna, Sweden. The mine, the airport.
    Good picture. Thanks

  2. ivan kordac says:


    I didnt belive it when i visited it…

  3. Mohammed Sbai says:

    Mohammed SBAI from Morocco this part is Kiruna in North sweden

  4. Bryan Gawron says:

    Answer: Kiruna, Sweden

    Kiruna is a town in the far north of Swedish Lapland. It’s known for the huge LKAB iron ore mine and its underground visitors center with an exhibit on mining. Hjalmar Lundbohmsgården, the 19th-century former home of LKAB’s first managing director, is now a museum with a courtyard photography exhibit. Kiruna Church is notable for its bell tower and resemblance to the traditional huts of the indigenous Sámi people.

  5. jake says:

    maybe utah?

  6. James Varghese says:

    This True-Color (Band Combinations Red: Band 4, Green: Band 3, Blue: Band2) satellite Image was taken over Kiruna mines (67°49’28.6″N 20°11’03.3″E) in Kiruna, Norrbotten County, Lapland, Sweden with Landsat 8 Operational Land Imager (OLI) sensor. The Image is only a subset of the whole Landsat 8 scene acquired on 10th October, 2016 around noon local time (10:17 a.m. UTC). Here is an image of the whole Landsat 8 scene This mine seems to be ‘the largest and most modern Iron ore mine in the world’ as stated in wikipedia.
    The Kiruna town can be seen beside the mine. The orange and yellow colors around the mine signify the colors of vegetation in fall. Some amount of snow can also be identified found in patches across the image. Any reader who regularly visits NASA Earth would be able to get a hint from a previous article published two days back called, ‘A Blaze Yellow’, which is a very informative article.

  7. Mukul Verma says:

    Its a quarry…extracting…iron ore near a city meant for its workers.

  8. Mukul Verma says:

    Iron ore extraction quarry near a city of its own workers.

  9. Thomas Dierig says:

    Kiruna in Sweden

    The ore-mine is shifted and had contact to the surface. Today ore is taken at levels of 1000m beyond ground and will be to levels of more than 2000m beyond. The gap will not be filled but the earth fills the gaps so that a large valley forms in the ground. In 6 years this valley consumes the old town-center, thus some buildings will be moved and a new town-center will be created some km away.

  10. Ivan Kordač says:

    Kiruna Sweden on the road to Norway – dream or not to dream, how you find out it…

  11. J Thomas says:

    An image of the Kiruna iron ore mine in northern Sweden – maybe taken with the Operational Land Imager (OLI) on the Landsat 8 satellite.

  12. Susan Keane says:

    Kiruna. The time I was there a very nice scientist offered to share his taxi with me and my BF. He was an American working at the Swedish Institute of Space Physics.

  13. Vic Habersmith says:

    I agree that it’s Kiruna in Sweden but at first glance I thought it was the Empire Mine near Ishpeming in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. This massive mine, a mile wide and 1,200 feet deep has supplied our auto industry with iron ore for over 100 years. Sadly, it is nearly mined out and is soon to close.

  14. Curso de Porcelanato Líquido says:

    My congratulations, an excellent article. Thank you for sharing with us!