August 6, 2009 - The Society Islands

The Society Islands

The MODIS on the Terra satellite captured this image of the Society Islands in the south Pacific Ocean, on July 29, 2009. Politically, these islands are a part of French Polynesia. The large island at bottom right is Tahiti, with Moorea to its west. The small island southwest of Moorea is Maiao. The other grouping of islands consists of (from L to R) Maupiti, Tupai, Bora Bora, Tahaa and Raiatea (these two islands almost look like one), and Huahine.

Tahiti, which is the most populous island in French Polynesia, has two regions, both centered on volcanic mountains and connected to each other by short isthmus. Raiatea (south, lower island) and Tahaa (north, the upper island) share a common lagoon fringed by a coral reef, which appears as the thin bright line surrounding both islands. Bora Bora is also fringed by a coral reef. The deep bay on the eastern side of Raiatea is fed by the Faaroa River, the only navigable river in French Polynesia. The volcanoes which created these islands were active 3 to 4 million years ago. The two "motus" (islands) southwest of Bora Bora, within the fringing coral reef, are remnants of the volcanic caldera rim that remain above sea level.

Image Facts
Satellite: Terra
Date Acquired: 07/29/2009
Resolutions: 1km ( B), 500m ( B), 250m ( B)
Bands Used: 1,4,3
Image Credit: Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA GSFC