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Earth Matters

From Earth with Love

February 14th, 2019 by Kathryn Hansen

When you look at Earth from above as often as we do, you become intimately familiar with the shapes and patterns that can emerge across the planet. Some are made by people and others by nature. Some are ephemeral and others more permanent. 

Today we took a light-hearted approach to the Image of the Day, explaining the science behind one such shape—what appears to be a Valentine in the Sky. The image prompted us to look and see where other heart-shaped features have turned up. 

Heart-Shaped Uummannaq

It is no mystery how Uummannaq Island got its name. In Greenlandic, the word means “heart-shaped,” an apt description for the multi-peaked mountain that towers over the 12 square kilometer (5 square mile) island. Located in Uummannaq Fjord off the coast of northwestern Greenland, the granite and gneiss peak rises sharply from sea level to 1,170 meters (3,840 feet). Read more.

Love Lake

Stand next to these lakes carved out of the sand in Dubai, and their shape might not be immediately obvious. But viewed from above—and even from space as shown in this Landsat image—the intertwined heart-shaped lakes contrast sharply with the Bab Al Shams Desert.  Read more.

Heart-shaped Calving Front

This heart-shaped calving front of a glacier in northwest Greenland was photographed by Maria-Jose Viñas during a flight of NASA’s Operation IceBridge mission on Mar. 27, 2017. It later became a backdrop for a printable Valentine. See more NASA Valentines.

Island Love

Moorea is a heart-shaped island in the South Pacific, about 20 kilometers northwest of Tahiti.  Read more.

Shrinking Heart

The Aral Sea has been shrinking for decades, and just a fraction of its water remains. This image shows the heart-shaped lobe of the sea’s western half in August 2018. Read more.

Loving Big

Lake Strobel, located in a remote part of the Patagonian steppe in Argentina, supports some of the world’s largest rainbow trout. Read more.

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