STS056-109-080 Agricultural Area, North-Central Argentina April 1993 The color infrared film accurately delineates the intensively productive cultivated farmland (red colors) from the unproductive, poorly drained land in this near-vertical photograph taken near the small rural town of Ceres in north-central Argentina. The hundreds of field patterns show a well-established agricultural infrastructure. The darker areas west and northwest of the cultivated fields are part of a large interior drainage system that crosses broad alluvial fans that stretch eastward with gradually decreasing slopes. The whitish areas are dry lakebeds (salt flats) where the evaporation rate of surface water has exceeded the water recharge rate. Several south-trending smoke plumes probably originate on small parcels of land that are being cleared for agricultural use. The thin northwest-southeast line is a combined railroad and highway right-of-way. This area is part of the Chaco region of Argentina, a great expanse of lowland plain with deciduous scrub woodland interspersed with patches of savanna and poorly drained soils.
STS-56 color infrared Earth observation taken aboard Discovery, Orbiter Vehicle (OV) 103, shows the agricultural frontier (rectangular field patterns) impinging on the natural grasslands (pampas) of northern Argentina. Note the sharp delineation between the upland agricultural areas (red and pink rectangles), and the lowland semi-arid grasslands or pampas (shown in violet and purple). In addition, several large smoke plumes associated with biomass burning are visible. These smoke plumes and their burn point sources are considered to be evident of extended agricultural preparations in the lowland pampas.