The Paraná River in South America •

Today’s Image of the Day from NASA Earth Observatory features the Paraná River, the second longest river in South America.

The Paraná moves northeast to southwest for approximately 3,030 miles, passing through Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina. The braided patterns seen in the river are formed by sediment that was carried from upstream and piled up into islands. 

According to NASA, the sediment also makes braid bars, which are smaller, rhomboid-shaped landforms created by the interweaving of water and land as the river level rises and falls over time. The braided channels provide routes for small boats and ships.

In the fields surrounding the Paraná River floodplain, crops such as coffee, corn, and cotton are grown. Ongoing drought in this region has recently slowed crop production, and has also limited the transport of goods on the shrinking river.

The Paraná River basin supports a diverse ecosystem, including numerous species of fish and birds. The river’s wetlands are crucial for biodiversity and provide vital habitats for many species.

The image was captured on July 9, 2021 by an astronaut with the Expedition 65 crew on the International Space Station. It is provided by the ISS Crew Earth Observations Facility and the Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, Johnson Space Center. 

Image Credit: NASA Earth Observatory 

By Chrissy Sexton, Editor

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