Mongolia

Snow covers Mongolia in patches in this true-color Aqua MODIS image from December 21, 2003. Mongolia sits at an extremely high altitude; no point is lower than 1,800 feet (550 meters), while the highest point stretches to 15,266 feet (4,653 meters). Snowfall is normally light and blows away quickly during the winter, so to see this much snow on the ground at once is rather unusual.
Source: Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC

Dust storm in Gobi Desert, Mongolia

A large dust storm can be seen blowing across the Gobi Desert in Mongolia in this true-color Terra MODIS image from November 10, 2002. The dust storm appears as a lighter tan with horizontal-running streaks against the darker tan-orange of the desert. The dust storm is mostly in Mongolia (top), but also has a streak running on the other side of the border in the Inner Mongolia region of China. The Gobi Desert is one of the worlds largest deserts, covering almost 1.3 million square kilometers (around 0.5 million square miles). It sits on a high plateau (from 910 to 1,520 meters), and is a region of extreme weather conditions with bitterly cold winters and short hot summers.
Source: Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC

Eastern Mongolia (before fire, false color)

This false-color Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) image shows no sign of the extensive burn scar that covers Eastern Mongolia in later images. The light blue cloud that covers a portion of the area south of the lake, Buyr Nuur, is probably a cloud, not smoke since MODIS did not detect a fire in the area. Light green indicates the presence of vegetation where the burn scar appears in images taken on October 23, 2003. The soil is pink and water is dark blue.
Source: Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC

Burn scar in eastern Mongolia

Dark scarred earth marks the passage of a fire through the land to the south of the lake, Buyr Nuur in Eastern Mongolia. To the north and the south, the flames seem to have been checked at the Chinese border. This true-color Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) image was acquired on October 23, 2003 by the Terra satellite.
Source: Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC

Burn scar in eastern Mongolia (false color)

An angry red burn scar rakes across the eastern edges of Mongolia, just south of the lake Buyr Nuur, in this false-color Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) image taken on October 23, 2003 by the Terra satellite. Bare earth appears tan and pink, while vegetation is bright green. Clouds are light blue. Still dark red, the burn scar is the result of a fire that had burned sometime during the previous week, as an image of the area taken on October 18, 2003 shows no signs of fire.
Source: Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC

Westernmost Mongolia

The western region of Mongolia, with its several salt lakes, can be seen in this true-color image acquired from data collected by MODIS on October 15, 2001. The northernmost lake, named Uvs Nuur, is Mongolias largest lake, and is home to over 220 species of birds. The lake has a salt content that is 5 times greater than that of ocean water, supports no fish life, and spans 335,000 hectares (873,000 acres). Also visible are the Russian Republics of Tyka, which borders Mongolia to the north, and Altay, which is west of Tyka.
Source: Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC

Westernmost Mongolia

On May 27, 2002, MODIS captured this image of western Mongolia. Notice how the snow-capped mountains to the north and west seem to be blocking any moisture from the interior, creating the arid landscape dotted with small lakes.
Source: Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC

Mongolia

With winds that constantly whip dust across high plains, a nomadic population that mostly lives in felt tents, and a local cuisine that consists of fermented goat milk and stewed meats, Mongolia is not a place for the pampered. This true-color image of Mongolia was acquired on March 27, 2000, by the Moderate-resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS), flying aboard NASAs Terra spacecraft. Most of the 2.3 million Mongolians live on the vast, rolling, semi-arid, grass-covered plateaus that stretch across eastern and northern Mongolia. In the image, these areas are a dark reddish-brown. The faint herringbone pattern running through eastern Mongolia is formed by the Kerulen and Orhon Gol rivers and their tributaries. The lighter reddish-brown areas covering most of southern Mongolia is the Gobi Desert. Vast and largely uncharted, the Gobi has become a favorite of fossil hunters from around the world. Here ideal fossil specimens of Velociraptor and Protoceratops have been unearthed. (See Finding Fossils from Space for more details.) Moving to the southwest corner of the country, one can see the defined ridges that make up the sparsely vegetated Altai Mountain Range, the highest mountains in Mongolia. A number of lakes can be spotted to the northwest and the far north. The drumstick-shaped lake at the northern tip of Mongolia is Hovsgol Nuur, which is considered a national treasure in Mongolia with its picturesque alpine surroundings and pristine water. Further north in Russia, the long lake that is half surrounded by snow is the great Lake Baykal. Reaching 1,620 meters (nearly one mile) in depth, Lake Baykal is the deepest freshwater lake in the world and holds as much fresh water as the shallower lakes Superior, Huron, Ontario, Michigan, and Erie combined.
Source: Image courtesy MODIS Science Team

Scientists Use NASA Landsat Data to Hunt for Dinosaur Fossils

In 1999, an American Museum of Natural History expedition used Landsat images like this one to locate a new site of dinosaur and early mammal fossils in Mongolias Gobi Desert. With Landsat 5 and 7 data the scientists can identify areas comprised of sedimentary rocks where vegetation is sparse, requirements for good fossil sites. The high-resolution images also improve upon the poor previously-existing maps of the area. At the top is a true color Landsat 5 image of the Gobi desert covering the area between Ukhaa Tolgod and the Flaming Cliffs, two of Mongolias most famous fossil sites. The bottom image was made by combining Landsat band 7 (shortwave infrared) for red, band 4 (near infrared) for green, and band 1 (blue) for blue. Vegetation and different types of rock and soil stand out clearly in this image, enabling paleontologists to identify favorable rock formations where they are likely to find fossils.
Source: Images by Barbara Summey, NASA GSFC Visualization Analysis Lab, based on Landsat 5 data provided by the Laboratory for Terrestrial Physics