The ghostly face is part of southern Australia’s Lake Eyre. The desert lake remains dry most of the year, filling during the rainy season. When the lake is completely full—which has only happened three times in the past 150 years—it is the largest lake on the continent.
The various hues of this abstract scene represent the different landscapes present in Dasht-e Kavir, or the Great Salt Desert, of northern Iran. The sparsely populated desert is named after its many salt marshes (“kavir” means salt marsh in Persian). The Great Salt Desert is also home to dry streambeds, plateaus and mud flats, covering almost 30,000 square miles of the Iranian Plateau.
4. Icelandic Tiger (October 21, 1999)
Nature often inspires art, but sometimes it is art. For almost 40 years, the Landsat satellites have been snapping images of earth that look more like they belong on the walls of a modern art museum than stored in a scientific archive. The U.S. Geological Survey, which manages the satellite program with NASA, is sharing the beauty of these photos in its new “Earth as Art” exhibit on display at the Library of Congress through May 31, 2012.
Everyone at USGS who works with Landsat data has a favorite photo, and that led to the idea of gathering a collection of favorites to share with the public, says Ronald Beck, a USGS public information specialist who has worked with the Landsat Program for 37 years. Beck’s favorite in the new exhibit, the third installment of “Earth as Art,” is Icelandic Tiger. The “tiger” is part of Iceland’s northern coast, and its mouth is the fjord called Eyjafjorour, meaning “Island Fjord.” The name refers to the small island the tiger is about to eat.