Sichuan Basin filled with haze •

Today’s Image of the Day from NASA Earth Observatory features the Sichuan Basin in southwestern China, where the remains of an ancient lake have been transformed into rolling hills and fertile farmland over time. According to NASA, the basin is often filled with air pollution and haze.

“When the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite acquired this image on January 31, 2023, a layer of haze had settled in the basin. The pall obscured cities and other surface features that are visible on clearer days, though a series of ridges could be seen poking above the pollution in the northeastern part of the basin,” says NASA.

“On the day the image was acquired, measurements from several ground-based sensors in Chongqing and around the southeastern part of the basin reported fine particulate matter (PM2.5) measurements well above 200 on the air quality index, according to data published by the World Air Quality Index Project. That is high enough to be designated ‘very unhealthy’ by health authorities.”

The most common sources of pollution in the Sichuan Basin include coal and wood burning during winter and vehicle emissions. 

The Sichuan Basin is a region of great geographical and cultural significance. Known for its fertile lands, the basin forms a natural enclosure leading to a humid and mild climate, which is ideal for agriculture. Historically, it’s been a major rice and wheat-growing area.

The basin is surrounded by the Himalayas to the west, the Qinling range to the north, and mountain ranges to the east and south. This natural barrier has made the region somewhat isolated, leading to a unique cultural and linguistic evolution separate from the rest of China.

The Sichuan Basin is also notable for its rich natural resources, including significant deposits of natural gas and minerals. The area has experienced rapid industrial development in recent decades, particularly in the energy sector.

Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan Province, is located in this basin. It’s a major cultural and economic center, known for its relaxed lifestyle, spicy cuisine (including the famous Sichuan pepper), and historical landmarks. The basin is also home to the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, a significant conservation and research center for giant pandas.

The Sichuan Basin has also been the site of significant historical events and developments in Chinese history, including being a stronghold for various dynasties and a center for revolutionary activities in different periods.

Image Credit: NASA Earth Observatory 

Like what you read? Subscribe to our newsletter for engaging articles, exclusive content, and the latest updates.


Check us out on EarthSnap, a free app brought to you by Eric Ralls and

News coming your way
The biggest news about our planet delivered to you each day