Earth Matters

September Puzzler

September 26th, 2018 by Kathryn Hansen

Every month on Earth Matters, we offer a puzzling satellite image. The September 2018 puzzler is above. Your challenge is to use the comments section to tell us what we are looking at and why this place is interesting.

How to answer. You can use a few words or several paragraphs. You might simply tell us the location. 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 feature in the 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. After we post the answer, we will acknowledge the first person to correctly identify the image at the bottom of this blog post. We also may recognize readers who offer the most interesting tidbits of information about the geological, meteorological, or human processes that have shaped the landscape. Please include your preferred name or alias with your comment. If you work for or attend an institution that you would like to recognize, please mention that as well.

Recent winners. If you’ve won the puzzler in the past few months or if you work in geospatial imaging, please hold your answer for at least a day to give less experienced readers a chance to play.

Releasing Comments. Savvy readers have solved some puzzlers after a few minutes. To give more people a chance to play, we may wait between 24 to 48 hours before posting comments.

Good luck!

Answer: The image shows a detailed view of the Albanov Ice Cap on October Revolution Island. The island is part of the Severnaya Zemlya archipelago in the Russian high Arctic. Many of the area’s ice caps, including Albanov, contain snow and ice that has melted and refroze, visible as the blue areas ringing the ice caps. Congratulations to Bananaft for correctly identifying the location, and to Maria Bolton and Aureliano for mentioning ice melt. Read more about the image in our October 1, 2018, Image of the Day


16 Responses to “September Puzzler”

  1. Will says:

    Detail of world’s largest salt flat, Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia?

  2. Maria Bolton says:

    Ice glaciers melting and mountains being exposed

  3. Kevin says:

    Looks like cold wind traveling from land mass to form sea ice in a central area. From the pic it appears to be snow and ice at the bottom, and land mass at the top, with cold winds traveling south.

  4. Aureliano says:

    We are seeing melting snow cover over a masive glaciar(similar to Malaspina)

  5. JR Gorey says:

    Niagara Falls from space

  6. Ivan Kordac says:

    half of supercell cloud upon the coast of sand desert teritory or lake (china?)

  7. Deborah Jeffress says:

    A drying up Salt flat that occasionally receives a goodly anount of rain. Notice the upper right hand corner, the receding dry lines, then there is a trail into the beautiful aqua blue water, where the upper lake received a load of rain and it broke through the dry lines and dumped water into this very salty lake. The picture was taken on a bright cloudless day, the aqua blue reflecting the sky. The Bolivian salt flat, Salar de Uyuni? Due to the color of the dried salt that has collected volcanic looking dust. Sal is salt in Spanish, salar is a verb meaning to make salt, mas o menos!

  8. Rob says:

    Sun reflection over Antarctica.

  9. Vicky Hays says:

    Inside of a Volcano or Ice Canyon with melting ice.

  10. Rusty Pelican says:

    Today you guys posted a news clip about the Severnaya Zemlya Archipelago. This photograph is a piece of one of the icecaps. how it is important, I would suspect Global Warming” is making this place less cold, less icy and easier to spot from space.

  11. Lynn Hall says:

    Detail of Severnaya Zemlya archipelago, a recent image of the day!

  12. Monisha Das says:

    It is an island in the Russian Arctic. Severnaya Zemlya Archipelago. It is always covered with ice.

  13. Kevin Rodgers says:

    Sea ice being created by freezing winds blowing from the land mass at top of pic. Not sure where but I’d guess far northern latitude….Greenland, perhaps?

  14. Chris Edwards says:

    An ice dome (somewhere) with glare (blue) ice round the ablation limit. Going down hill towards the edges i.e. towards the top of the picture the ice goes through freeze/thaw cycles which gives it slightly less albedo and at the top of the photo you are seeing old ice with flow bands or perhaps bands of dust (which does not sublime or melt) and this gets concentrated on the top giving the grey appearance.

  15. Paul A Konicek says:

    Relatively recent data map of the arctic circle and the transition from polar cap to ocean and nearby land mass. The granularity of the image suggests that it is an average of many readings.