17 March 2017
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In this image spanning some 265 km, we can see the northwest–southeast ranges of the Rockies. Moving west to east, the mountains peter out to the Canadian Prairies, with the city of Calgary in the transition zone between the two landscapes (upper-middle).
This area has naturally occurring 'chernozem' – black soil – and is part of one of two chernozem belts in the world – the other stretching across part of eastern Europe and Russia. This fertile soil produces a high agricultural yield, evident by the numerous fields on the right side of the image.
A section of the Trans-Canada Highway is also featured, entering Calgary in a direct line from the east, and then snaking into the Rockies towards the west. Spanning over 8000 km, this coast-to-coast road travels through all 10 of Canada's provinces and is one of the longest routes of its type.
In the upper left we can see the long, curved glacial Lake Minnewanka. Fed mainly by the Cascade River, a dam built in the 1940s raised the lake by about 30 m and submerged a resort village, as well as the previous dam built in 1912. Today, it is a popular destination for scuba divers to explore the underwater dam.
Near the western end of the lake lies the town of Banff – the site of next week's 4th Swarm Science Meeting and North-American CryoSat Science Meeting. The two conferences taking place concurrently bring together scientists to discuss the latest results coming from the three-satellite Swarm mission on Earth's magnetic field, as well as new information on Earth's changing ice masses from the CryoSat satellite.
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