Sediment over the Great Barrier Reef

NASA image acquired February 4, 2011


With high winds, a powerful storm surge, and torrential rains, Cyclone Yasi churned the waters of the Coral Sea off Australia’s Queensland coast. On February 4, 2011, as the clouds began to clear, evidence of the storm’s violence lingered in the water. The normally clear, shallow water of the Great Barrier Reef was clouded with sediment brought to the surface in the turbulent water.


Light reflects off the light-colored sediment, turning the ocean electric blue. Sections of the reef are visible amid the clouded water. The reef has well-defined shapes and is greener than its surroundings. The section of reef shown here is near Whitsunday Island National Park. The large image, which shows a wider area, reveals sediment in the water along much of the coast.


The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite acquired this image in the early afternoon on February 4. Twice-daily images of northeast Australia are available from the MODIS Rapid Response System.


NASA image courtesy the MODIS Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC. Caption by Holli Riebeek.


Instrument: Aqua - MODIS


NASA Goddard Space Flight Center enables NASA’s mission through four scientific endeavors: Earth Science, Heliophysics, Solar System Exploration, and Astrophysics. Goddard plays a leading role in NASA’s accomplishments by contributing compelling scientific knowledge to advance the Agency’s mission.


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Taken on February 7, 2011