Earth from Space: Glacial shapes and waters
Italy’s Lake Garda and the city of Verona south of the Italian Alps are pictured in this image from Japan’s ALOS observation satellite.
With an area of 370 sq km, Garda is the largest lake in Italy and the third largest in the Alpine region. It was formed by glaciers flowing out of the Alps during the last Alpine ice age, which ended around 12 000 years ago.
East of the lake is the Adige River, flowing south before curving east toward Verona. At 410 km in length, it is the second longest river in the country after the River Po.
If the water level in the river is too high, excess water is diverted to Lake Garda through a tunnel at the northern tip of the lake. This reduces the risk of flooding in Verona and the surrounding areas.
The tunnel is used only when absolutely necessary since the sudden influx of the river’s water, which is both colder than the lake's and more polluted, causes a temperature shock and degrades the habitat for fish.
The city of Verona has been awarded World Heritage Site status by UNESCO because of its urban structure and architecture – among them the circular Roman amphitheatre, visible when zooming in. The city is also the setting of William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.
The Advanced Land Observation Satellite captured this image on 21 October 2010 with its AVNIR-2 Advanced Visible and Near Infrared Radiometer.
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.
The Image of the Week is featured on ESA Web-TV, broadcast online every Friday at 10:00 CEST.