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Where on Earth...? MISR Mystery Quizzes
Where on Earth...? MISR Mystery Image Quiz #15
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(See quiz questions or a list of previous quizzes.)

Where on Earth...? MISR Mystery Image Quiz #15

Here's another chance to play geographical detective! This natural-color image was acquired by the Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR) in July 2003, and represents an area of about 355 kilometers x 463 kilometers. Most of the landmass pictured in this image falls within a named geographic region. This region is defined by its political boundaries within a larger country, and may be a state, a province, a department, or similar entity. These 6 questions refer to this geographic region. You may use any reference materials you like to answer them.

This summer view of Russia's Kamchatka Peninsula was acquired on July 4, 2003 (WRS-2 Path 099, Terra orbit 18839). The geographical region referred to is Kamchatka Oblast.

1. Averaged over the entire geographic area of the region, which is larger?
    (A) The average number of people per square kilometer.
    (B) The average number of volcanoes per 1000 square kilometers.

Answer: A
The size of the Kamchatka Peninsula is around 472,000 square kilometres, and the population is around 460,000, so the average number of people per square kilometer is almost 1. There are an estimated 329 volcanoes within this area, or about 0.70 volcanoes per 1000 kilometers.

2. Which is closer to the image area?
    (A) The nearest point along the path of annularity of the first solar eclipse of 2003.
    (B) The location where a cargo ship spilled tens of thousands of bathtub toys during rough seas in the early 1990s.

Answer: B
At its closest point to Kamchatka the path of the annular solar eclipse of May 2003 was over 4000 kilometers away, off of Greenland’s western coast. The toys were spilled into the North Pacific Ocean near the International Date Line, about 1600 kilometers from Kamchatka.

3. Which is smaller?
    (A) The population of the region at the beginning of the 18th century.
    (B) The population of the region at the beginning of the 20th century.

Answer: B
At the start of the 18th century the local native population of Kamchatka was about 20,000. The indigenous population was reduced to about 8000 by the mid-18th century. At the start of the 20th century the number of Russian migrants was about 2500 and the indigenous population was about 5000.

4. Which occurred earlier?
    (A) Completion of a monument commemorating the seafarer who founded what is now the regional capital city.
    (B) The attack on the port of the city and defense of the port by a 44-gun frigate.

Answer: A
A monument to the famous explorer Vitus Bering, believed to be oldest monument in the Russian Far East, was crafted in St. Petersburg between 1823 and 1826 and now stands in Petropavlovsk, near the harbour from which Bering started his expedition to America. The defense of Petropavlosk by the 44-gun frigate, the Aurora, occurred during the British-French attack of 1854. (Note: A monument to Vitus Bering (circa 1966) also exists on Bering Island in the Aleutians.)

5. Which is smaller?
    (A) The number of masts of the ship upon which the aforementioned seafarer sailed during the last voyage of his or her lifetime.
    (B) The number of animals first identified and named after the naturalist who sailed with the seafarer.

Answer: A
In 1741 naturalist Georg Wilhelm Steller set sail on the St. Peter, with Vitus Bering on the journey to find the Alaskan coast. The St. Peter was a single-deck two-mast ship. During the voyage, Steller identified the now-extinct Steller's sea cow and the spectacled cormorant, and described many other Alaskan species, including Steller's sea lion, Steller's jay, Steller's sea-eagle, and the northern fur seal.

6. Within the region, which is further north?
    (A) The main military base.
    (B) The most important lake-environment spawning ground for anadromous fish.

Answer: A
Rybachiy military base is located at the next major inlet south from Avacha Bay/Petropavlovsk. The rivers and lakes of Kamchatka are renowned for incredibly abundant fish and animal life. Kurilskoye Lake (or Kuril Lake), is considered to be the largest lake-environment spawning ground for sockeye (red) salmon in Asia, and is located at the far southern tip of Kamchatka.

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

  1. Jacques Allemand, Annecy, France*
  2. David Haycock, Tucson, AZ. USA*
  3. Marco Hoogvliet, Utrecht, The Netherlands*
  4. Rob Hale, Norman, OK, USA
  5. Yu Wei, Xiamen, China
  6. Thomas Schwarzenbach, Kuesnacht, Switzerland
  7. Mike J.Rewis
  8. Jim Armstrong, Potter Valley, CA, USA
  9. P.R., Wading River, NY, USA
10. Regina Seiler, Lucerne, Switzerland
11. Manuel A. Freer, San Jose, Costa Rica
12. Timotej Verbovsek, Ljubljana, Slovenia
13. Tuure Laurinolli, Oulu, Finland
14. Michael Fisher, Sydney, Australia
15. Marion Florjancic, Crotone, Italy
16. Shirley J. Kelly, San Francisco, CA, USA
17. Joanne Shimada, Pasadena, CA, USA
18. Peter Truscott, Milton Keynes, UK
19. Stephen Ford, Ukiah, CA, USA
20. Andrzej Szuksztul, Gdansk, Poland

A new "Where on Earth...?" mystery appears as the MISR "latest featured image" approximately once every two months. New featured images are released on Wednesdays 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.
Text acknowledgment: Clare Averill MISR Team, Geographic Interpretation and Science Outreach, c/o Raytheon, Australia.