This Moderate resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) true-color
image was acquired on October 19, 2000, over a region in Brazil large enough to
show much of the countrys diverse landscape. Spanning some 8.5 million
square kilometers (3.2 million square miles), Brazil is by far the
largest South American nation--both in terms of land and population.
The region known as the Amazon Basin lies to the northwest (upper left) and extends well beyond the northern and western edges of this
scene. Typically, from this perspective Amazonia appears as a lush,
dark green carpet due to the thick canopy of vegetation growing there.
Some of the Amazon Basin is visible in this image, but much is obscured
by clouds (bright white pixels), as is the Amazon River. This region is
home to countless plant and animal species and some 150,000 native South
Americans. The clusters of square and rectangular patterns toward the
center of the image (light green or reddish-brown pixels) are where
people have cleared away trees and vegetation to make room for
development and agriculture.
Toward the western side of the scene there is considerable haze and
smoke from widespread biomass burning in parts of Brazil and Bolivia,
which shares its eastern border with Brazil. Toward the east in this
image is the highland, or cerrado, region, which is more sparsely
vegetated and has a somewhat drier climate than the Amazon Basin. The
capital city, Brasilia, lies within this region just southwest of the
Geral de Goias Mountains (orangish pixels running north-south).
There are two large water reservoirs visible in this scene--the
Sobradinho Reservoir about 800 km (500 miles) northeast of Brasilia, and
the Paranaiba about 500 km (300 miles) southwest of Brasilia.