The Southern Alps on New Zealand’s South Island Today’s Image of the Day from NASA Earth Observatory features the Southern Alps, which run the length of New Zealand’s South Island. In this region, plate tectonics and glaciers have dramatically shaped the land through earthquakes, erosion, and mountain formation.
ESA reports that around 20,000 years ago, during the most recent glacial maximum, most of this area was covered by massive glaciers that later scraped and scoured the surface when they retreated. New Zealand, Maori Aotearoa, island country in the South Pacific Ocean, the southwesternmost part of Polynesia. New Zealand is a remote land—one of the last sizable
The highest peak in New Zealand, Aoraki Mount Cook, is 12,218 feet above sea level. New Zealand is an island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. It consists of two main landmasses—the North Island (Te Ika-a-Māui) and the South Island (Te Waipounamu)—and more than 700 smaller islands, covering a total area of 268,021 square kilometres (103,500 sq mi). New Zealand is about 2,000 kilometres (1,200 mi) east of Australia across the Tasman Sea and 1,000 kilometres (600 mi) south of the islands of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga. The country’s varied topography
The narrow strip of vegetated land along the coast receives the most rainfall in the country, as wind that blows in from the Tasman runs into the mountains and drops its moisture. By contrast, New Zealand’s driest areas are located just southeast of the mountains.
Image Credit: NASA Earth Observatory
By Chrissy Sexton, Earth.com Staff Writer