The Arcachon Bay in France’s southwest Aquitaine region is pictured in this image from Japan’s ALOS observation satellite.
At the centre of the image, we can see the large Dune of Pyla as an elongated light-brown rectangle. This large, sandy dune is about 2.7 km long, 500 m wide and about 110 m tall.
Wind and tides constantly ‘push’ the dune further inland and, each year, it advances by several metres with 60 000 000 cubic metres of sand encroaching on the nearby pine forest and campsites.
In the upper right portion of the image is Arcachon Bay, home to oyster beds and farms.
From the start of the 19th century, the bourgeoisie of Bordeaux began visiting the shores of Arcachon for the believed therapeutic benefits of sea air and bathing. The area is a popular spot for 'healthcare holidays'.
The Advanced Land Observation Satellite captured this image on 8 September 2009. ALOS was supported as a Third Party Mission, which means that ESA used its multi-mission ground systems to acquire, process, distribute and archive data from the satellite to its user community.
In April 2011 the satellite abruptly lost power while mapping Japan’s tsunami-hit coastline.
This image is featured on the Earth from Space video programme.