Clouds hugged the western slope of the Andes Mountains while the heights and most of the eastern slopes remained bone-dry in late May 2020. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite captured a true-color image of the scene on May 27.
Coastal Chile lays under the clouds while the border with Argentina lies just to the east of the cloud and roughly in the center of the image. Green color in Argentina marks vegetation and gives evidence of some moisture, but most of this portion of north-central Argentina is the driest in the country.
An area of arid scrub desert in Argentina is outlined by orange sands. Two hundred million years ago, dinosaurs roamed this region. Today this scrub desert, which has been preserved as Talampaya Natural Park, holds some of the most ancient and pristine remnants of the prehistoric reptiles. Moving just to the southwest of the red rock and sand of Talampaya the color fades to a light gray tone. This marks Ischigualasto Natural Park, another home to dinosaur remnants. The two parks hold fossils spanning about 50 million years, from the time the dinosaurs first appeared to the Triassic era, when the reptiles were the dominant species.