Africa #2744


#2744 Africa by JVPD
This color shaded relief image shows the extent of digital elevation data for Africa recently released by the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM). This release includes data for all of the continent, plus the island of Madagascar and the Arabian Peninsula. SRTM flew on board the Space Shuttle Endeavour in February 2000 and used an interferometric radar system to map the topography of Earth's landmass between latitudes 56 degrees south and 60 degrees north. The data were processed into geographic "tiles," each of which represents one by one degree of latitude and longitude. A degree of latitude measures 111 kilometers (69 miles) north-south, and a degree of longitude measures 111 kilometers or less east-west, decreasing away from the equator. The data are being released to the public on a continent-by-continent basis. This Africa segment includes 3256 tiles, almost a quarter of the total data set. Previous releases covered North America, South America and Eurasia. Forthcoming releases will include Australia plus an "Islands" release for those islands not included in the continental releases. Together these data releases constitute the world's first high-resolution, near-global elevation model. The resolution of the publicly released data is three arcseconds (1/1,200 of a degree of latitude and longitude), which is about 90 meters (295 feet). Coverage in the current data release extends from 35 degrees north latitude at the southern edge of the Mediterranean to the very tip of South Africa, encompassing a great diversity of landforms. The northern part of the continent consists of a system of basins and plateaus, with several volcanic uplands whose uplift has been matched by subsidence in the large surrounding basins. Many of these basins have been infilled with sand and gravel, creating the vast Saharan lands. The Atlas Mountains in the northwest were created by convergence of the African and Eurasian tectonic plates.

Photo Credit: NASA/JPL/NIMA [0003-0701-0101-2512] by 0003

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Keywords

africa, atlas mountains, congo basin, continent, earth science, geography, great rift valley, jpl, kalahari basin, lake nyasa, lake victoria, mozambique, nasa, red sea, saharan