Minimize Smoky Andean Valleys

An astronaut aboard the International Space Station (ISS) took this oblique photograph of smoke-filled canyons along the eastern margin of the Andes Mountains on 23 July 2016. The desert plateau of Bolivia lies in the foreground, with the southern end of Lake Titicaca at image lower left. The desert is known as the Altiplano ("high plain") because of its great altitude—just over 4000 meters (13,000 feet). The city of La Paz, Bolivia's capital, lies on the edge of the Altiplano.

The smoke in the valleys comes from several fires on the upper margin of the montane forest. These forests, known locally as the Yungas, appear dark green in the image. The Yungas is forested because it is a relatively wet zone and is often cloudy. In fact, astronauts see the Yungas much less often than they see the usually cloudless Altiplano.

View the full resolution image.

Credit: NASA

Smoky Andean Valleys


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