The emerald-green waters of the Indian Ocean’s Mozambique Channel undulate off the western coast of the island nation of Madagascar in this true-color Terra MODIS image. The jewel-like coloration appears to be a result, at least in part, of sediments in the water, which in higher concentrations near the coast appear brown but begin to reflect green as they disperse in the blue waters farther off shore. Microscopic aquatic plant life could also be present; in high-enough concentrations they too can lend a green color to the water.
This strikingly-clear image shows most of the island — the world’s fourth largest at over 580,000 square kilometers (1 sq km = 0.38 sq mi). The island has three climates: tropical along the narrow coast, a temperate inland, and an arid south. A high plateau and numerous mountains, which in this image are a striking red-orange color, dominate most of the island’s center. MODIS also detected a number of fires (marked in bright red) dotted throughout the interior. This image was acquired on July 22, 2003.