Tibetan Mountains, SIR-C/X-SAR Image

- Image ID: HRJ8KH
Science History Images / Alamy Stock Photo
Image ID: HRJ8KH
Spaceborne radar image covers a rugged mountainous area of southeast Tibet, about 56 miles east of the city of Lhasa. In the lower right corner is a wide valley of the Lhasa River, which is populated with Tibetan farmers and yak herders, and includes the village of Menba. Mountains in this area reach about 19,000 feet above sea level, while the valley floors lie about 14,000 feet above sea level. The Lhasa River is part of the Brahmaputra River system, one of the larger rivers in southeast Asia eroding the Tibetan Plateau. The rugged relief in this area reflects the recent erosion of this part of the Plateau. Most of the rocks exposed outside of the river valleys are granites, which have a brown-orange color on the image. In the upper left center of the image and in a few other patches, there are some older sedimentary and volcanic rocks that appear more bluish in the radar image. Geologists are using radar images like this one to map the distribution of different rock types and try to understand the history of the formation and erosion of the Tibetan Plateau. Image was acquired by the SIR-C/X-SAR on April 10, 1994, on board the Endeavour.