NASA MODIS Image of the day
Western Australia, Pink Lake visible, Houtman Abrolhos Islands
Western Australia, Pink Lake visible, Houtman Abrolhos Islands
September 21, 2018

On September 15, 2018, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard NASA’s Terra satellite acquired a beautiful true-color image of the coastline of central Western Australia.

The area captured in this image is part of what is called the “Coral Coast” of Australia. Named for the coral formations found off the coastline, especially along the Houtman Abrolhos Islands, the Coral Coast runs approximately from Cervantes in the south to Exmouth in the north. Among the many unique features of this area is a long, thin, bright, bubble-gum pink lake. It can easily be seen from space on the coast roughly parallel to and east of the northern island.

Australia has a number of strikingly pink lakes, including this one. Known as Hutt Lagoon, or simply Pink Lake, it covers about 27 square miles (70 sq. km) and is separated from the Indian Ocean by a beach barrier ridge and a system of barrier dunes. The lagoon is fed by marine waters through springs and loses water mainly by evaporation, making it quite saline. The bubble-gum color comes from an abundance of pink, red, or salmon-colored single-celled organisms – algae, bacteria, and archae – which thrive in these lakes. It is said that, depending on the time of day, cloud cover, and season of the year, the lake can appear anywhere from lilac purple, to deep red.

Offshore, the more than 120 islands and islets of Houtman Abrolhos are surrounded by gem-like aqua and greens, which mark some of the southern-most coral reefs in the Indian Ocean. This reef contains over 200 species of corals, with all but two considered tropical species. The islands and waters surrounding them are highly biodiverse. Aside from the uniqueness of the reef system, there are about 490 mollusks, 172 echinoderm, and more than 380 finfish recorded at the Abrolhos. They also are important breeding grounds for more than thirty species of bird.

Image Facts
Satellite: Terra
Date Acquired: 9/15/2018
Resolutions: 1km (80.3 KB), 500m (186.4 KB), 250m (127.5 KB)
Bands Used: 1,4,3
Image Credit: MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA GSFC
 Courtesy of NASA MODIS Website

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