Death Valley from Landsat

June 05, 2009


Image Provided By: Landsat-7
Summary Author: Jim Foster

The Landsat-7 image above showing Death Valley in California was acquired on June 11, 2000. Over the past 8+ years, a number of photos featured as the Earth Science Picture of the Day have been taken here. However, this satellite view shows a different perspective of this iconic landmark. In addition to the fascinating geology of this area, the elevation changes in the vicinity of Death Valley are especially remarkable. The lowest point in North America is found here (282 ft or 86 m below mean sea level), and some peaks defining the valley exceed 11,000 ft (3,353 m). Death Valley routinely records the highest temperatures in the Western Hemisphere during the summer months (134 F or 57 C was recorded in July of 1913), and the annual rainfall is only 1.9 inches (less than 50 mm). It supposedly received its apropos moniker in 1848 from a group of gold miners who stumbled across this inhospitable depression.

Image details: A pseudo-natural color image composite of Landsat visible and near infrared bands and a panchromatic sharpening band. Salt pans (up to 5 ft in thickness or 1. 5 m) appear bright blue on this rendition. Dark green is indicative of healthy vegetation. Varying shades of beige, tan, red, and bright green is barren ground with differing mineral compositions.