Today’s Image of the Day from NASA Earth Observatory features the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, which divide the state between the eastern plains and the mountains of the west.
“The extreme contrast of these landscapes also brings an extreme disparity in water,” says NASA. “The Western Slope receives 80 percent of the state’s precipitation, as weather systems rising to cross the continental divide shed their loads of rain and snow before moving east.”
“Water that falls to the west of the divide drains toward the Pacific Ocean, while water that falls to the east runs toward the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic.”
“The plains of eastern Colorado, however, are semi-arid. In 1820, explorer Stephen Harriman Long – for whom Long’s Peak is named – famously dismissed it as a ‘Great Desert’ unsuitable for agriculture. But the sandy, loamy soil can make fertile farmland when irrigated.”
The Rockies make up the longest mountain range in North America, which spans the Canadian provinces of British Columbia and Alberta and the U.S. states of Washington, Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, Colorado. Utah, and New Mexico.
The image was captured on September 2, 2021 with the Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8. The photograph is combined with topographic data from the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM).
Image Credit: NASA Earth Observatory
By Chrissy Sexton, Earth.com Editor
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