Lake Vanda in Antarctica

April 12, 2007


Provided by: NASA/GSFC, USGS
Summary authors & editors: Jim Foster

The above Landsat satellite image features Lake Vanda, which is located in the central region of Wright Valley in Antarctica -- flanked by the Transantarctic Mountains. This frozen lake is approximately 3 miles (5 km) long and up to 250 feet (76 m) deep in places. While the surface waters of Lake Vanda are perennially ice-covered, a thermal inversion caused by the hypersaline nature of the deeper water enables water temperatures to reach nearly 80° F (27 C) at the lake's bottom! Lake Vanda has no outlet to the sea but is fed by the Onyx River, Antarctica's longest river (~19 miles or 30 km). During the short summer season, the Onyx carries glacial meltwater to Lake Vanda.

This true-color Landsat 7 image was acquired on December 18, 1999.

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