The Anti-Atlas Mountains of Morocco formed as a result of the collision of the African and Eurasian tectonic plates about 80 million years ago. This collision destroyed the Tethys Ocean; the limestone, sandstone, claystone, and gypsum layers that formed the ocean bed were folded and crumpled to create the Atlas and Anti-Atlas Mountains. In this ASTER image, short wavelength infrared bands are combined to dramatically highlight the different rock types, and illustrate the complex folding. The yellowish, orange and green areas are limestones, sandstones and gypsum; the dark blue and green areas are underlying granitic rocks. The ability to map geology using ASTER data is enhanced by the multiple short wavelength infrared bands, that are sensitive to differences in rock mineralogy. This image was acquired on June 13, 2001 by the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) on NASA's Terra satellite. With its 14 spectral bands from the visible to the thermal infrared wavelength region, and its high spatial resolution of 15 to 90 meters (about 50 to 300 feet), ASTER images Earth to map and monitor the changing surface of our planet.
ASTER is one of five Earth-observing instruments launched December 18, 1999, on NASA's Terra satellite. The instrument was built by Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. A joint U.S./Japan science team is responsible for validation and calibration of the instrument and the data products.
The broad spectral coverage and high spectral resolution of ASTER will provide scientists in numerous disciplines with critical information for surface mapping, and monitoring of dynamic conditions and temporal change. Example applications are: monitoring glacial advances and retreats; monitoring potentially active volcanoes; identifying crop stress; determining cloud morphology and physical properties; wetlands evaluation; thermal pollution monitoring; coral reef degradation; surface temperature mapping of soils and geology; and measuring surface heat balance.
Dr. Anne Kahle at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, is the U.S. Science team leader; Bjorn Eng of JPL is the project manager. The Terra mission is part of NASA's Earth Science Enterprise, a long- term research effort to understand and protect our home planet. Through the study of Earth, NASA will help to provide sound science to policy and economic decision-makers so as to better life here, while developing the technologies needed to explore the universe and search for life beyond our home planet.
Size: 28.7 x 29.4 km (17.8 x 18.2 miles)
Location: 29.4 deg. North lat., 8.9 deg. West long.
Orientation: North at top
Image Data: ASTER bands 4,6 and 8.
Original Data Resolution: 30 m
Date Acquired: June 13, 2001