Gulf of California • Gulf of California baja

Gulf of California. Baja California is the central focus of this true-color Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) image taken on November 30, 2003, by the Aqua satellite. The peninsula is about 93 miles wide and extends 808 miles from the Mexico-US border to its southern tip.
This sparsely populated region is covered primarily by mountains and deserts. Two major deserts are visible as lighter tan areas in this image. On the northeast side of the peninsula is the San Felipe desert, and in the central western section is Vizcaino. Three mountain ranges run down the center of Baja California, splitting it vertically. The Sierra de Juarez starts near the border and runs south into the Sierra San Pedro Martir. Farther south is the Sierra de San Borja. The spur on the west side of the peninsula contains the fourth mountain range in Baja California: the Sierra Vizcaine.

The Gulf of California (also known as the Sea of Cortez, Sea of Cortés (named for Spanish Conquistador Hernán Cortés) or Vermilion Sea; locally known in the Spanish language as Mar de Cortés or Mar Bermejo or Golfo de California) is a marginal sea of the Pacific Ocean that separates the Baja California Peninsula from the Mexican mainland. It is bordered by the states of Baja California, Baja California Sur, Sonora, and Sinaloa with a coastline of approximately 4,000 km (2,500 mi). Rivers which flow into the Gulf of California include the Colorado, Fuerte, Mayo, Sinaloa, Sonora, and the Yaqui. The gulf’s surface area is about 160,000 km2 (62,000 sq mi). Depths range from fording at the estuary near Yuma, Arizona, to in excess of 3,000 meters (9,800 ft) in the deepest parts.

Credit: Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC

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