Earth Matters

July Puzzler

July 28th, 2020 by Adam Voiland

Every month on Earth Matters, we offer a puzzling satellite image. The July 2020 puzzler is above. Your challenge is to use the comments section to tell us what we are looking at, where it is, and why it 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. If you think something is interesting or noteworthy, tell us about it.

The prize. We cannot 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.

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

See our “Cultivating Ideas for Mars” Image of the Day for the answer.

21 Responses to “July Puzzler”

  1. Kaushik says:

    Melting ice of Arctic region

  2. Louise Tam says:

    Somewhere near North pole, maybe greenland, and I guess the satellite is Terra based on the limited knowledge I learned from NASA Earth Now mobile app, have no clue of the spectral bands. It looks like god threw a dice and got three, the ice cubes may feel lonely, or may not because they have company A Ghost if you turn the picture 90° left. Thank you, I have fun🙂.

  3. Jane Irvine says:

    The central Canadian Arctic. The light toned sedimentary rocks (limestone) on the RHS are horizontally bedded in the north & dipping slightly to the south (assuming north is at the top). There is broken sea ice off shore. To the LHS of the image & along the top there are darker coloured coastal flats with raised strandlines, where the land has risen as a result of isostatic rebound since the end of the last ice age. Deeper lakes on the coastal plain or flats are still partially ice covered, the shallower ones are ice free. There are debris chutes & talus cones along the left hand edge of the lighter coloured uplands, caused by the accumulation of frost shattered material released during the spring melt.
    The quadrilateral lagoons along the centre of the shoreline on the left had side of the image are puzzling, perhaps created by ice push?

  4. Jogi says:

    This image certainly looks like it is of someplace close to the North/Arctic Ocean. The dark ground seems like it was made by volcanic activity. There are flows from the right/east side of the image going west/left. So my guess is Iceland.

  5. M. Kate Kapsemalis says:

    I believe this sat., view is on Hawaii. My guess is the Big Island where there is an active Volcano.

    So, my guess is the Big Island, Hawaii.

    I love the image due to pockets of possible water, and the jagged edges around the island to me, seems to be Hawaii, the Big Island. I have been to Kauai and they also have pockets like this. Interesting for sure.

    Thanks,
    M. Kate Kapsemalis

  6. María Inés Martín says:

    It’s Antartica!
    It’s really important to preserve life on Earth because it regulates the weather. Without it the world would be so hot that many species would die, such as Krill, which is extremely important for the food chain. And also many countries would flood (because of the increasing of the sea level).
    It’s dry and freezing cold environment can be similar to Mars in many aspects, which helps scientists to study and predict situations in the red planet.

    I’m María Inés Martín and I’m from Argentina. I’m studying Physics at UNLP and i look up to be an Astrophysicist. My instagram account is @minesmartin

  7. Patrice castro gonçalves says:

    Antarctic Continent

  8. Jack Broadhurst says:

    Iceland, the new volcanic island.

  9. Jim Green says:

    I’m guessing the dark area on the left is some sort of lava flows or upwellings. It is on the coast (or possibly a lake) and there are broken bits of sea ice crowding the shore. There are 3 lakes in this dark part that are still frozen — I’m guessing the image was made in the spring or summer, the seasonal snow is gone but the lakes and the sea are not melted out all the way. The lighter colored area on the right is a different sort of material, possible also igneous in mature but softer (older?). It is higher ground than the dark area and there are erosion gullies coming off it that spread onto the darker ground. There is a lake in that area that appears to be melted, probably due to its smaller size or depth. My guess is that this is in Iceland.

  10. Johan Smit says:

    Jagged rocky shoreline formed by basalt or other igneous outpouring. The basalt is overlain by a lighter colored sedimentary unit, likely sandstone, which shows layering and erosion in the form of gullies along the flanks. Alluvial fans visible below the gullies. This place is probably in the higher latitudes due to what appears to be snow on the higher lying sandstone cliffs.

  11. Markus Bensch says:

    Big Island Hawaii, test site for the new Mars Rover.

  12. Anoop Mohandas says:

    It looks Landsat 8 data natural color composite, data aquired mostly spring time…ice cover melt is visible.Geologically area coverd by a sedimentary beds of Sandstone were bedded layers are visible .As ice retreats lakes or sink holes filled with ice cap formed as adjacent limestone terrane

  13. Dan O’Brien says:

    This is the coast of Devon Island in Canada’s Arctic region. A largely barren area of exposed rock and impact craters, this area is a useful analogue for extra-terrestrial planetary exploration research such as the Haughton-Mars Project.

  14. Paul Sanborn says:

    The western half of this view shows Truelove Lowland, on the northern coast of Devon Island, Nunavut, which is in the central Canadian Arctic as a previous commenter correctly suggested. This area has been an important site for ecological research since the 1960s, notably during the International Biological Program. Key findings were compiled in a multidisciplinary book: L.C. Bliss (ed.) 1977. Truelove Lowland, Devon Island, Canada : a high arctic ecosystem. University of Alberta Press, Edmonton. 714 p.

  15. TellRobin says:

    Iceland hot springs

  16. Alexis says:

    i could be waaaay off but to me by looking at the grooves in the rock to the right of the picture it looks like they were formed by running water and this rock looks like it is high enough to cast a shadow on the area to the left indicating that this is not a rock and may be a dried up waterfall which would explain the flowing marks on the ground to be where the river use to be and i don’t think those are chunks of ice but water that has been caught in beeper parts of the ground. i have never done this before by the way this is just what i think it is.

  17. Alexis says:

    i could be way off but to me by looking at the grooves in the rock to the right of the picture it looks like they were formed by running water and this rock looks like it is high enough to cast a shadow on the area to the left indicating that this is not a rock and may be a dried up waterfall which would explain the flowing marks on the ground to be where the river use to be and i don’t think those are chunks of ice but water that has been caught in beeper parts of the ground. i have never done this before by the way this is just what i think it is.

  18. Humberto Omar Fonseca says:

    This is a Devon Island, 75°40’44.63″N
    84°36’32.04″O

  19. henry says:

    I think it is because it looks like that rock has a face.
    it has two eyes,
    one mouth, and
    a brain!

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