19 November 2010

Friday fold: Belcher Islands, Canada

Posted by Callan Bentley

This bad-ass image comes to you today via WIRED online, which scored it from the archives of the U.S. Geological Survey. It’s a Landsat 5  photo, snapped from a satellite on September 21, 2001. You can download a bigger copy of it here. WIRED describes it this way:

Like sweeping brushstrokes of pink and green, the Belcher Islands meander across the deep blue of Canada’s Hudson Bay. The islands’ only inhabitants live in the small town of Sanikiluaq, near the upper end of the middle island. Despite the green hues in this image, these rocky islands are too cold to sustain more than a smattering of low-growing vegetation.

To that, I would add that we’re looking at a classic outcrop pattern of a series of plunging anticlines and synclines, wherein some strata are particularly resistant to weathering and erosion, while their interleaved neighbors are more rapidly etched away. It’s rather like the Valley and Ridge province of the eastern United States, except that the Canadian example is much improved by being flooded with sea water. This produces islands (the tips of the sinuous ridges) which poke above sea level and weave back and forth like a petrified sea serpent. Here’s a link to view this extraordinary place in Flash Earth.

Happy Friday!