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Where on Earth...? MISR Mystery Quizzes
Where on Earth...? MISR Mystery Image Quiz #12
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(See quiz questions or a list of previous quizzes.)

Where on Earth...? MISR Mystery Image Quiz #12

Here's another chance to play geographical detective! This natural-color image from the Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR) was captured by the instrument's nadir camera on May 31, 2002, and covers an area of 244 kilometers x 249 kilometers.

NOTE: To make identification of this scene more difficult, the image has been rotated such that north is not necessarily at the top.

Use any reference materials you like to answer the following four questions about some distinctive features within the scene.
1. The location of a city is indicated by the pale gray-colored pixels in the upper left. Three of the following four statements about this city are true. Which statement is false?
(A) No city with a larger population is located within 4 degrees latitude.
(B) The city was established about 300 years ago.
(C) There are hundreds of bridges within the metropolitan area, of which only one is a drawbridge.
(D) A linear feature connecting the island to the right of the city with the mainland supports automotive but not rail traffic.

Answer: C is false
The image has been rotated such that north is toward the bottom. The city in the south eastern portion of the image is Russia's St. Petersburg, which is the most northerly large city in the world at almost 60 degrees north latitude. The closest city with a larger population, Moscow, is south of St. Petersburg by more than 4 degrees (at 55.75 degrees north). St. Petersburg was established along the banks of the Neva River by Peter the Great in 1703. This marshy, low-lying area possesses many rivers and islands, and about 300 bridges, of which more than twenty are drawbridges. The island connected with the north shore of Petersburg is called Kotlin Island and is the home of the famous naval fortress of Kronstadt. The road built upon a tidal barrage connecting the island with the mainland is open to road traffic but does not support a railway.

2. A large blue water body extends along the top portion of the image. Three of these four statements about it are true. Which statement is false?
(A) The shores provide an important habitat for at least one type of seal.
(B) Dreissena polymorpha, an invasive pest species, has been found in these waters.
(C) These waters are more salty than most other seas.
(D) Forest products account for at least half of all cargo leaving one of the major ports along the shoreline.

Answer: C is false
The water body extending along the top portion of the image is the Gulf of Finland. These shores are home to the Grey Seal and the Ringed Seal. The bivalve Dreissena polymorpha has been recorded in the eastern parts of the Gulf of Finland since the 1980's. The Gulf of Finland is a low salinity marine environment, and one of the freshest enclosed seas in the world. Over half of all cargo leaving the Finnish port of Hamina are forest products.

3. Another large body of water stretches along the left-hand portion of the image. Three of these statements about this water body are true. Which statement is false?
(A) Its maximum depth is less than 300 meters.
(B) There is an active monastery on one of its islands.
(C) It is the main source of freshwater for the region and is currently threatened by pollution.
(D) Its basin is of tectonic origin and was formed through movements of the Earth's crust.

Answer: D is false
The waters stretching along the left are part of Lake Ladoga. Despite being somewhat shallow (the maximum depth of the lake is about 230 meters), Lake Ladoga is the largest freshwater lake in Europe and the primary source of drinking water for St. Petersburg. Pollution from various industrial and agricultural materials threaten the Lagoda water supply. The large island of Valaam (in the lower-left portion of the image area) houses an active monastery that dates from the 12th century. The origin of the lake is related to the recent glacial history of the area and not to tectonic deformations of the Earth's crust.

4. Extending from the bottom center of the image to the water's edge in the upper right quadrant is a curvilinear boundary separating darker shades of green on the left from lighter hues of green and brown on the right. Three of the following four statements about this feature are true. Which one is false?
(A) It coincides with a political border.
(B) It is associated with an escarpment more than 500 meters in elevation.
(C) It demarcates areas characterized by historically different logging practices.
(D) It is traversed by a river in which salmon and trout migration has been affected by the construction of a hydroelectric plant.

Answer: B is false
The curvilinear feature coincides with the southern portion of the border between Russia and Finland. The maximum elevation in this region is less than 200 meters. For much of the 20th century, Russia's westernmost border served as a barrier to international interaction, and the forests in this region were largely excluded from the international trade in forest products. In contrast, forests along the Finnish side of the border have been more intensively exploited during the past century. The Vuoksi River crosses this border at the twin cities of Imatra, Finland and Svetogorsk, Russia, and then flows onward toward Lake Ladoga. The Imatrankoski power station and dam which was constructed between these towns in the 1920's has hindered salmon and trout migrations along this route.

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

  1. David Morgan-Mar, Sydney, NSW, Australia*
  2. Karl Bailey, Mason, MI, USA*
  3. Gary Schrock, Holt, MI, USA*
  4. David Haycock, Tucson, AZ, USA
  5. Nicolas Chagnon, Ottawa, ON, Canada
  6. WK Chan, Hong Kong
  7. Yu Wei
  8. Marion Florjancic, Crotone, Italy
  9. Roman Popadiouk, Ottawa, ON, Canada
10. Ross Amann, Colts Neck, NJ, USA
11. Jim Kelly, Cocoa Beach, FL, USA
12. Andrzej Barganski, Gdynia, Poland
13. D. H. C., Gilroy, CA, USA
14. Bob Nicholson, Victoria, BC, Canada
15. Harm Riksen, Spijkenisse, Netherlands
16. Eric Wilson, Auckland, New Zealand
17. Kyle Dantzler, Carrollton TX, USA
18. Tuure Laurinolli, Oulu, Finland
19. Scott Zillmer, Silver Spring, MD USA
20. Jim Armstrong, Potter Valley, CA, USA
21. Heng-Hsin Liao, San Jose, CA
22. Anna and Michael Ivanov, St. Petersburg, Russia
23. Matthew Truscott, Milton Keynes, England
24. Matthias Knirr, Tuebingen, Germany
25. Joe Capuano, Ypsilanti, MI, USA
26. Olivier Lengliné, Paris, France
27. Marco Capodivacca, Ypsilanti, MI, USA
28. J. Bystedt, Victoria, BC, Canada
29. Gary Newman, Sebastopol, CA, USA
30. John Parenteau, Lakewood, CO, USA
31. Monika Draga, Bad Kissingen, Germany
32. Shirley Kelly, San Francisco, CA, USA
33. John Tang, Meizhou City, Guangdong Province, China
34. Kaz Hikida, Kamakura, Japan
35. Bernhard Mayer, Seefeld-Hechendorf, Germany
36. Steven Earle, Nanaimo, BC, Canada

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.
Text acknowledgment: Clare Averill (Acro Service Corporation/Jet Propulsion Laboratory).