Today’s Image of the Day from NASA Earth Observatory features the port town of Torrevieja, Spain. According to NASA, the waters in the surrounding lagoons appear like wells in a watercolor palette, with distinct colors resulting from varying aquatic environments.
“In this photograph taken by an astronaut on the International Space Station (ISS), the blues of the Mediterranean Sea contrast with the pink and green hues of La Mata and Torrevieja salt lagoons. Sunglint further alters the appearance of all three water bodies, painting portions white with reflections of the Sun,” reports NASA.
The Torrevieja Salt Lagoon is hypersaline and is colored a shade of pink by salt-loving algae such as Dunaliella salina. This organism can be found in saltwater basins worldwide. As a result of freshwater runoff from nearby mountains, the La Mata Lagoon has less salt.
“A salt factory is located on the southeastern margin of the Torrevieja Lagoon. These lagoons produce hundreds of tons of salt every year and have fueled much of the local economy for centuries,” reports NASA.
“Along the southern borders of the lagoons, nature preserves provide refuge to migratory and native birds, including the Greater Flamingo, Northern Gannet, and Spanish Sparrow. Brine shrimp live in the lagoons and are a food source for the birds. These preserves are Ramsar sites, which are internationally recognized conservation wetland areas.”
Image Credit: NASA Earth Observatory