Central America from Space
southern Florida (top) and the western edge of the
Bahamas. Cuba's capital,
Havana, makes a grayish patch along the green, northern coastline. The
Gauniguanico Mountains dominate the western tip of the island, and appear darker
green than the coastal terrain. Across the Batabano Bay, the dark green color of
the peninsula is due to lush wetlands (NASA - November 2002).
Peninsula (NASA - March 2003).
- A 50-mile long engineering wonder connecting the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific
Ocean. Completed by the United States in 1914, it runs southeastward from Colon,
through the man-made Gatun Lake, to Panama City on the Pacific side of the
Isthmus of Panama. The canal, a major artery of international shipping, uses a
series of massive locks, manmade lakes, and water supplied by the copious
tropical rainfall of the region to lift and lower transiting ships a height of
85 feet over the continental divide. Thick rainforests border the canal,
and the protected Canal Zone is easily delineated by the dark green band of
forest, which contrast the lighter green cultivated areas of Panama. The
ecologically sensitive Canal Zone supports diverse lowland rainforest that is
crucial for water balance and erosion/siltation control around the canal.
Scientists monitor the edges of the Canal Zone rainforest for degradation from
development (NASA - International Space Station, January 2003).
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