Earth Matters

October Puzzler

October 24th, 2023 by Kathryn Hansen

Update on October 31, 2023: This puzzler image shows Trou au Natron, a deep caldera and soda lake in northern Chad. Congratulations to Warren Hansen for being the first to correctly identify the feature and its location. Read more about the image in our Image of the Day story.

Every month on Earth Matters, we offer a puzzling satellite image. The October 2023 puzzler is shown above. Your challenge is to use the comments section to tell us where it is, what we are looking at, 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 offer details about 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 on the International Space Station, but we can promise you credit and glory. Well, maybe just credit. Within a 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. 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 have 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!

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21 Responses to “October Puzzler”

  1. Gerald Terenyi says:

    Looks like a frightened monkey of some sort? Ho Ho

  2. Warren Hansen says:

    It’s a caldera in Chad (Africa) known as the Trou au Natron. It’s an extinct volcano with a less-than-symmetrical shape. The white coloration is due to carbonate salts, including natrolite or “natron,” hence the name.

  3. Tilmann Liess says:

    Tarso Toussidé

    Via Google for vulcan and natron

  4. MAMOONA SAHER says:

    This Location is Klyuchevskaya Sopka – Volcano
    (Kamchatka Krai Russia 684400 15,584-ft. volcano, one of the highest in the world, featuring about 70 craters & a truncated cone) exists (56° 3’16.29″N, 160°38’14.35″E) and (56° 5’36.54″N, 160°27’57.15″E).
    Its a Eurasia’s tallest active volcano which sent small plume of gas, steam, and some ash wafting to the northeast. The shadow of the mountain’s show conical shape and rising plume which offers a sense of three-dimensionality to the nadir while downward looking. Its a landsat image, the peaks also show its shadow on image.

  5. Chetan D Bankar says:

    It is an image of ‘Trou au Natron’ – the volcanic caldera located in the Tibesti mountain range – in Chad in Northern Africa.

  6. Aleksandar says:

    Volcanos in Kamchatka

  7. Rick Varner says:

    This is the Trou au Natron caldera in Chad. The lake region at its base is thick with carbonate salts deposited by vents on the floor of the caldera creating the white crusty appearance.

  8. Poorna Sreeram says:

    I think it is a marsh in Oman formed due to the heavy rainfall because of the tej cyclone.

  9. Joshua Stevens says:

    If we solve the puzzle, will this face stop crying out in pain?!

  10. John Mitrakas says:

    Good evening,
    First impretion with no more search, says… Kamchatca peninsula!

  11. Elizabeth Hailey says:

    The lava lake on Saunders Island?

  12. Tom Haupt says:

    Hello. I see a dogs face mans face octopus bear nose sticking out a bird with feathers a parrot face

  13. Mark Meyer says:

    Looks like Trou au Natron in Northern Chad!

  14. Martin Bruegger says:

    The image shows the “Trou au natron” in Chad, Northern Africa.
    It is possible to point out that no immediate relation exists between pyroclastics and the formation of the caldera and that the Trou au Natron — contrary to former opinions — presents a collapse caldera.

  15. Ian Jackson says:

    There appear to be two volcanoes and the image looks like the face of a dog. As for the location, I haven’t got a clue, other than it looks somewhat like a rocky desert. Possibly Afghanistan?

  16. Cristina Rzepka de Lombas says:

    Is the Natron caldera, a vulcano in Chad.
    Several calderas can be seen. One of then, the one to the left has collapsed.
    The caldera to the right has a new volcanic cone that looks like a pupila in an eye.

  17. Mac Humphrey says:

    I think this is a photo of open pit mines. I don’t know where, exactly, but I’m guessing in a high desert, perhaps in South America. Chile or Argentina. It is significant because it demonstrates that humans can create scars on the landscape so large that they can be seen from space.

  18. Chris O says:

    Found it on Airbus Landsat.
    Trou au Natron in Chad Africa. Its interesting because it reminds me of a cat or panda face, and its adjacent to a mountain peak so the side view is awesome.

  19. Wisata Bromo says:

    Congratulations to Warren Hansen for correctly identifying Trou au Natron in northern Chad! Your knowledge and keen eye for geographical features are truly impressive. I’m looking forward to reading the Image of the Day story to learn more about this fascinating location.

  20. Stefan Olaru says:

    Looks like the face of a dead bear who was killed by hunters.