The Paraná River, which flows south from Paraguay and northern Argentina to empty into the Rio de la Plata and the Southern Atlantic Ocean, is the second largest drainage system in South America, after the Amazon. The river is navigable by ocean-going ships to Santa Fe in northeastern Argentina, making the river the principal commercial artery of southeastern South America. The river appears as a bunch of light tan-colored ribbons curving in a southeastern arc from the top right side of the image.
On the southern banks of the Rio de la Plata (the large tan inlet at middle right in the image), Argentina’s capital city of Buenos Aires can be seen as a spidery gray smudge. Farther to the east, on the opposite side of the Rio de la Plata and on the edge of the Atlantic, Uruguay’s capital city of Montevideo is also visible as a spidery gray, though smaller, smudge. Running south along the border of Argentina and Uruguay is the Uruguay River, which shows up as a darker brown ribbon against the deep green of the land.
Also shown in the image are a few red dots that mark where the MODIS instrument detected a thermal signature that was likely caused by a fire. For more information about how MODIS detects and helps to track fires, please read the Earth Observatory’s Global Fire Monitoring article. For more information about the Paraná River, please visit Encyclopedia.com. This true-color Terra MODIS image was acquired on April 13, 2003.