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Where on Earth...? MISR Mystery Quizzes
Where on Earth...? MISR Mystery Image Quiz #11
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(See quiz questions or a list of previous quizzes.)

Where on Earth...? MISR Mystery Image Quiz #11

Here's another chance to play geographical detective! These images from the Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR) were captured by the instrument's nadir camera on November 19, 2001, and show a natural-color (left) and false-color (right) view of a 157 kilometer x 210 kilometer area. The natural-color image is composed of data from the camera's red, green, and blue bands. In the false-color view, the green channel has been replaced with data from the camera's near-infrared band. This emphasizes the appearance of vegetation. North is toward the top.

Use any reference materials you like to answer the following 5 questions:

1. In the upper left-hand corner, the ocean waters exhibit a murky appearance due to a large amount of sediment being discharged from a river mouth. For whom is the river named and what office did this person hold?

The Fitzroy River shown in this image is in Queensland, Australia, and reaches the sea at the town of Rockhampton. It should not be confused with a river of the same name in Western Australia. Queensland's Fitzroy River was named in the mid 1850's in honor of Sir Charles Fitzroy, former Governor of New South Wales and Governor-General of the Australian Colonies.

2. In the upper left-hand quadrant of these images, a small, bright reddish-orange feature is apparent near the coast in both the natural and false-color views. The cause of this reddish-orange feature is:
(A) The recurrence of a bloom of red algae.
(B) An abundance of naturally-occurring iron deposits.
(C) A modern art installation financed by a private consortium.
(D) Waste from a mineral manufacturing and refining process.

Answer: D
The reddish-orange feature is a result of residue ponds at the Boyne Island alumina plant and smelter, south of the town of Gladstone, where raw bauxite from various mines across Australia is digested to produce nearly 5 million tons of aluminum oxide per year. The red color is caused by hydroxides of iron that exist as impurities within the bauxite.

3. A distinctively-shaped, dark-colored reservoir with a sinewy river at one end is located to the south of the aforementioned reddish-orange feature. This reservoir is the main water supply for a nearby industrial and urban region. When these images were acquired, the water level within this reservoir was at about 45% of total capacity. Over the next six months, did the water level in the reservoir rise or fall?

This time of year normally marks the start of the rainy season; however, the water level of Lake Awoonga fell from about 24.5 meters to about 23.5 meters between late November 2001 and late April 2002 due to local drought conditions.

4. A small seaside town within the image area (situated just over halfway down this length of coastline) was named to commemorate the year when a group of global explorers first set foot in this locality. What is the name of the town?

The town of Seventeen-seventy is so named because in May of 1770, Captain James Cook anchored along this part of the coast and made the second onshore visit to Australian soil, and the first venture onto dry land in what is now called Queensland.

5. In the lower right-hand quadrant of these images, a large winding river flows through an agricultural region. Endemic only to the upper reaches of this and a few other nearby rivers is an endangered fish with a peculiar anatomical characteristic. Name the fish.

The Queensland (or Australian) Lungfish (Neoceratodus forsteri) is a representative of an ancient group of fishes that have survived many millions of years and is unusual because of its possession of a single lung. This fish was restricted to the Burnett River (the winding river in the lower right) and to the Mary River, but has recently been successfully reintroduced to a number of other nearby rivers.

62 people from all over the world sent in responses before the deadline. Individuals who answered all five questions correctly are listed below in the order in which responses were received. The prize winners are indicated by asterisks.

  1. Bob Portnell, Sparks, NV USA*
  2. Karl Bailey, Mason, MI, USA
  3. Kevin Cooper, Coonabarabran, NSW, Australia*
  4. John Armston, Brisbane, QLD, Australia*
  5. Peter Valentine, Townsville, QLD, Australia
  6. Bruce Tabor, Sydney, NSW, Australia
  7. Scott Hemphill - Freiburg, Germany
  8. Tim Sawyer, Bath, UK
  9. Joe Capuano, Ypsilanti, MI, USA
10. Bernhard Mayer, Seefeld-Hechendorf, Germany
11. I and D Gill-Fox, Christchurch, New Zealand
12. M. Williams, Geraldton, Australia
13. Rex Berthelsen, Cobar, NSW, Australia
14. Andrew C., Brisbane, Queensland

A new "Where on Earth...?" mystery appears as the MISR "image of the week" approximately once every two months. A new image of the week is released every Wednesday at noon Pacific time on the MISR home page, The image also appears on the Earth Observatory,, and on the Atmospheric Sciences Data Center home page,, though usually with a several-hour delay.

MISR was built and is managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, for NASA's Office of Earth Science, Washington, DC. The Terra satellite is managed by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD. JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology.

Credit: Image credit: NASA/GSFC/LaRC/JPL, MISR Team.