The European Space Agency’s Sentinel-2A satellite snapped this snowy landscape of the Putorana Plateau in northern Central Siberia on 2 March 2016.
The area pictured shows part of the Putoransky State Nature Reserve, which is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It serves as a major reindeer migration route – an increasingly rare natural phenomenon – and is one of the very few centres of plant species richness in the Arctic.
Virtually untouched by human influence, this isolated mountain range includes pristine forests and cold-water lake and river systems. The lakes are characterised by elongated, fjord-like shapes, such as Lake Ayan in the upper-central part of the image.
Zooming in on the lake we can see that it is mostly ice-covered, with small patches of water peeking through around its lower reaches.
Another feature of this area are the flat-topped mountains, formed by a geological process called ‘plume volcanism’: a large body of magma seeped through Earth’s surface and formed a blanket of basalt kilometres thick. Over time, cracks in the rock filled with water and eroded into the rivers and lakes we see today.
Curated content from the editorial staff at Cosmos Magazine.
Read science facts, not fiction...
There’s never been a more important time to explain the facts, cherish evidence-based knowledge and to showcase the latest scientific, technological and engineering breakthroughs. Cosmos is published by The Royal Institution of Australia, a charity dedicated to connecting people with the world of science. Financial contributions, however big or small, help us provide access to trusted science information at a time when the world needs it most. Please support us by making a donation or purchasing a subscription today.