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Photographing the Earth from the International Space Station

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Mission: ISS007 Roll: E Frame: 10797 Mission ID on the Film or image: ISS007
Country or Geographic Name: BOLIVIA
Center Point: Latitude: -15.0 Longitude: -65.0 (Negative numbers indicate south for latitude and west for longitude)

Stereo: (Yes indicates there is an adjacent picture of the same area)


Camera Tilt: 34
Camera Focal Length: 180mm
Camera: E4: Kodak DCS760C Electronic Still Camera
Film: 3060E : 3060 x 2036 pixel CCD, RGBG array.


Film Exposure:
Percentage of Cloud Cover: 10 (0-10)


GMT Date: 20030723 (YYYYMMDD) GMT Time: 203027 (HHMMSS)
Nadir Point Latitude: -13.1, Longitude: -63.6 (Negative numbers indicate south for latitude and west for longitude)

Nadir to Photo Center Direction: Southwest
Sun Azimuth: 297 (Clockwise angle in degrees from north to the sun measured at the nadir point)
Spacecraft Altitude: 208 nautical miles (385 km)
Sun Elevation Angle: 20 (Angle in degrees between the horizon and the sun, measured at the nadir point)
Orbit Number: 2672


The Mamore River drains north from the Andes Mts. in lowland Bolivia. An image taken in July 2003 from the International Space Station (ISS007-E-10797, 14 June 2003, 12:36 GMT) shows an 85 km stretch of the river south of the lowland town of Trinidad in the Beni Province. A 55-km stretch (centered at 15.2S 66W) was rectified to the commercially available 1990 edition of the Landsat TM imagery of the world.

Numerous changes in river pattern are visible in the decade since the Landsat imagery was acquired. A pilot study was undertaken to characterize these rapid changes. Tie points were selected for geomorphic features which do not undergo short-term change- i. e. oxbow lakes and subsidence lakes in the floodplain. The ISS image was enhanced slightly to reveal the Mamore River channel.

The ISS image (top) shows Mamore River meandering in a floodplain with numerous contorted channel traces indicating former positions of the river. The darker areas are riverine forest, the lighter areas tropical savanna. The river trace as it was in 1990 (bottom) is superimposed on the 2003 handheld image.


  1. Meander cutoffs: In two locations, the Mamore has straightened its course by meander cutoff (c-upper image). The opposite trend appears to the north (right) where the course has become more sinuous.

  2. Some structural control, possibly by buried faults, appears to have maintained the position and straightness of the E-W stretch (EW).

  3. An old course has controlled the position of a sector of the new course: the radius of curvature of the northernmost meander is sharper than most bends because the new course has occupied a prior course (a-far right, upper image).

  4. Ten-fifteen years of river movement has had wider impacts on the valley floor:

    • two new lakes been formed where the large meanders have been cut off (n)

    • several lakes have decreased in size, especially two elongated lakes that have been reduced in length by more than 50% (s)

    • lakes have been destroyed entirely (x-lower figure)

    • many lakes are further from the main river and many closer: this nearness factor determines whether or not lakes receive nutrient rich inflow from the main river during floods. It is possible that these kinds of disturbances-the creation and destruction of habitat-may be a major cause of biodiversity generation in equatorial rainforests.

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