Beautiful Earth

From the Boston Globe’s The Big Picture

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This simulated natural-color image of southeastern Fars province in southern Iran shows a dry river channel carving through arid mountains toward the northeast. A broad belt of lush agricultural land follows the curve of the alluvial fan and stretches out along a road that runs parallel to the ridgeline. The valley-ward margin of the intensely green agricultural belt fades to dull green along streams (or irrigation canals). The image was captured by the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) on NASA’s Terra satellite on October 12, 2004. (NASA/Jesse Allen, NASA/GSFC/METI/ERSDAC/JAROS, U.S./Japan ASTER Science Team)

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Harrat Khaybar in Saudi Arabia contains a wide range of volcanic rock types and spectacular landforms, several of which are represented in this photograph taken by an astronaut abourd the International Space Station on March 31, 2008. Jabal (“mountain” in Arabic) al Qidr is built from several generations of dark, fluid basalt lava flows. Jabal Abyad, in the center of the image, was formed from a more viscous, silica-rich lava classified as a rhyolite. (NASA-JSC) #

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The Arabian Peninsula’s Empty Quarter, known as Rub’ al Khali, is the world’s largest sand sea, holding about half as much sand as the Sahara Desert. The Empty Quarter covers 583,000 square kilometers (225,000 square miles), and stretches over parts of Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates. The Enhanced Thematic Mapper on NASA’s Landsat 7 satellite captured this image of the Empty Quarter on August 26, 2001. (NASA/Robert Simmon, Landsat,USGS) #

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