Earth Matters

September Puzzler

September 29th, 2020 by Kasha Patel

Every month on Earth Matters, we offer a puzzling satellite image. The September 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 “Sandy Plains in the Arctic” Image of the Day for the answer.

20 Responses to “September Puzzler”

  1. Amie McDaniels says:

    They are ancient riverbeds on Mars!

  2. Colten Esterly says:

    I think this is a mountain range on Mars, surrounding Olympus Mons. It’s interesting because it’s biggest known volcano in the solar system!

  3. elaine pruden says:

    evidence of water on venus

  4. Mya says:

    Arizona desert

  5. Craig Wong says:

    I see a man with eyes, nose, mouth, moustache and beard. I’m really curious what this image could be.

  6. Raof Yousif says:

    it is image of Mars

  7. Yash Negi says:

    The Gambia.

  8. IVAN KORDAC says:

    Something like badlands …

  9. Axel Moegling says:

    I suppose this is an area somewhere around the Mississippi delta, where river water softly soaks through river sediments. There is no proof for the geographical position, but this kind of turbidity could be created at the surface of a calm shore area.

  10. Alfredo Martins says:

    I would say it is the Polar Cap of Mars but on Earth it must be a very arid region.

  11. Jorge flores says:

    It’s water on one of the main deserts here in earth.

  12. Saurabh Duryodhan Chavan says:

    I think that what we see in image is drainage patterns.. some looking like dendritic pattern and some are concentric…or either they are the valley carved on the slope due to erosion of water…or it can be spur…
    I know mars doesn’t have water but it may had water during his starting days may be at that time this features are formed and remained as it is..

  13. Saurabh Duryodhan Chavan says:

    I think that what we see in image is drainage patterns.. some looking like dendritic pattern and some are concentric…or either they are the valley carved on the slope due to erosion of water…or it can be spur…

  14. Kirthana nayak says:

    Is this the land burned down recently in California or Russia??

  15. Harshath Menon says:

    Drainage of mars

  16. Calvin Voiland says:

    A desert in China?

  17. Akshat says:

    Sandy dessert in arctic.

  18. Daniel O'Brien says:

    This is Bunge Land in the centre of Kotelny Island in the New Siberian Islands to the north of Russia. Not true land but a low-lying build up of sand joining two islands proper, it is subject to frequent freezing and sea flooding, giving it a highly unusual geomorphology.

  19. Dollie Utter says:

    Ahh, location, location, location… not know…. so looked at it as a painting which depicts an artistic dried fern plant that has a fish, the head of a jaguar, as well as a fire-breathing dragon within it. 10.4.20
    D:)

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