Earth from Space is a free eBook describing our planet from a satellite's perspective. Fore more information, please read the About pages.

Yucatan, Guatemala and El Salvador

Position of center of photo (Lat/Long): [17.32637/-90.22779]

Yucatan, Guatemala and El Salvador

Map: Yucatan, Guatemala and El SalvadorThe effectiveness of modern tree-cutting technology became clear to archaeologist Tom Sever in the late 1980s. NASA and the National Geographic Society hired him to study the potential impact of a hydroelectric dam on the Usumacinta River in Guatemala. Sever, who had pioneered the use of remote-sensing data in finding archaeological sites, turned to satellite imagery once again. Using Landsat data, he produced an image showing part of the border between Guatemala and Mexico. Most political borders are invisible in satellite images, but this border was obvious. The rainforest - still intact in Guatemala - stopped abruptly at the Mexican border, where the landscape had been stripped. The image above shows a larger area, however, the abrupt change of vegetation at the Mexcan border (center of the image) is still clearly visible.

Sever’s images stunned Guatemala’s president. "There had been tensions along the Mexico-Guatemala border for about 150 years," said Sever. After seeing the satellite image, however, both nations’ presidents "decided that the environment must unite them". In a ceremony on a river bridge between the countries, Guatemalan President Vinicio Cerezo and Mexican President Carlos Salinas shook hands and pledged to protect the dwindling rainforest. It marked the beginning of a larger effort to protect the environment in Mesoamerica.

Source of material: NASA

Further information: WikiPedia article on Yucatan, Guatemala and El Salvador

Last Update: 2011-03-30