Radar View of Shenandoah National Park

May 06, 2003


Provided by: Earth Observatory, NASA GSFC
Summary authors & editors: Earth Observatory; Jim Foster

Shenandoah National Park lies astride part of the Blue Ridge Mountains, which form the southeastern range of the greater Appalachian Mountains in Virginia. The park is well framed by this one-degree of latitude (38-39 north) by one-degree of longitude (78-79 west) cell of Shuttle Radar Topography Mission data, and it appears here as the most prominent ridge trending diagonally across the scene. Skyline Drive, a 169-kilometer (105-mile) road that winds along the crest of the mountains through the length of the park, provides beautiful vistas of the surrounding landscape. The Shenandoah River flows through the valley to the west, with Massanutten Mountain standing between the river’s north and south forks. Massanutten Mountain itself is a distinctive landform, consisting of highly elongated looping folds of sedimentary rock.

Two visualization methods were combined to produce this image; shading and color coding of topographic height. The shaded image was derived by computing topographic slope in the north-south direction. Northern slopes appear bright and southern slopes appear dark. Color coding is directly related to topographic height, with green at the lower elevations, rising through yellow, red, and magenta, to bluish-white at the highest elevations. Elevation data used in this image were acquired by the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour, launched on February 11, 2000.

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