April 13, 2021 - Four Corners and the Colorado Plateau

Four Corners

The rugged tablelands and canyons of the high Colorado Plateau are painted in oranges and tan, while white snow still caps the highest elevations of the Rocky Mountains in early April. Springtime snowmelt and rains have spurred growth in all but the driest landscape, washing the scene in light greens typical of arid shrublands and grasses, where sagebrush reigns as the dominant plant species. The woodlands found in higher elevations are populated by pinyon pine, juniper, and shrubs. Above hose woodlands are montane forests dominated by aspen, Douglas fir, ponderosa pine and lodgepole pine.

This area holds some of the most rugged and spectacular scenery in the United States, with sheer-walled canyons, buttes, mesas, and badlands contrasting with plains, deserts, and river gorges. Roughly a dozen parks and monuments are found in the region, including Monument Valley, Mesa Verde National Park, Chaco Canyon, and Canyon de Chelly. The center of the natural beauty has a unique man-made feature: it is the only place where the corners of four states meet. This spot is known as the “Four Corners” and sits at approximately 37 degrees north latitude and 109 degrees, 3 minutes west longitude. From the northwest and moving clockwise, the states that meet at Four Corners are Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona.

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard NASA’s Terra satellite acquired this true-color image of the Four Corners region on April 10, 2021.

Image Facts
Satellite: Terra
Date Acquired: 4/10/2021
Resolutions: 1km (588.7 KB), 500m (1.5 MB), 250m (3.2 MB)
Bands Used: 1,4,3
Image Credit: MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA GSFC