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National Parks

Global Feature Tour: Islands in National Parks

This segment provides a satellite tour comparing topography, climate, and geologic history of islands in six national parks around the world.

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Transcript

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A montage of satellite images. Title, Islands in National Parks. Text, Undersea volcanic eruptions and advancing and retreating glaciers have formed islands around the world. Some are covered in snow and ice, while others are surrounded. by warm, tropical waters.
 
Animation, the planet Earth rotates in dark space. a white dot appears in the Pacific Ocean. We switch to a satellite image from Operational Land Imager, Landsat 8. Text, Haleakala National Park, Founded in 1961, Maui, Hawaii, United States, Subalpine to Subtropical Climate. The Hawaiian Islands consist of layers of lava that built up over time on the seafloor. Steep, conical hills—the remnants of ancient eruptions—in Haleakala National Part provide evidence of volcanism. Millions of years of erosion have shaped the valley and slopes of the park
 
Back to the rotating planet earth. A white dot appears near the Great Lakes Region of North America. We switch to a satellite image from Advanced Land Imager, Earth Observing 1, Text, Apostle Island National Lakeshore, Founded in 1970, Bayfield Wisconsin, United States, Temperate Climate. Advancing and retreating glaciers carved this landscape for millions of years, creating more than 20 islands. Temperate, hardwood forests–culled for decades by loggers–still dominate the landscape. Surrounded by Lake Superior, the park is famous for its shoreline cliffs, sea caves, sandbars, and beaches.
 
A white dot appears on the top of the rotating earth. We switch to a satellite image from MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC. Quttinirpaaq National Park, Founded in 1988, Pond Inlet, Canada, Polar Desert Climate. Glaciers carved the ancient rock of Quttinirpaaq National Park, shaping its valleys and fjords. Hundreds of glaciers and vast ice fields still dominate the terrain of this park. Its northern coast is a mere 720 kilometers (450 miles) from the North Pole. In the summer, the region receives 24 hours of daylight, allowing flowers, mosses, and lichens to flourish.
 
A white dot appears in the northeastern part of North America. We switch to a satellite image from Operational Land Imager, Landsat 8. Acadia National Park, Founded in 1929, Bar Harbor, Maine, United States, Temperate Climate. For millions of years, glaciers also shaped the terrain of this park. As they scoured the landscape, they sculpted granite ridges, creating broad, U-shaped valleys, which filled with water that eventually submerged the coastline.
 
Mount Desert Island was once part of the continental mainland. As the sea level rose, it separated this mountainous area from the mainland. Today, the island juts out from the Atlantic like a lobster's claw.
 
I white dot appears in the Caribbean Sea. We switch to a satellite image from Advanced Land Imager, Earth Observing 1. Virgin Islands National Park, Founded in 1956, US Virgin Islands, Subtropical Climate.
 
Formed millions of years ago by submarine volcanoes, the island of St. John has steep slopes and a rocky, irregular coastline. Thorny vines dominate its forests. Along and just off the coast are many interdependent, fragile ecosystems, including mangrove forests, seagrass, and coral reefs.
 
Archeological sites in this park date to 840 BCE. In the 1800s, the land was clear-cut for sugar cane production. Slowly, the forests have been restored.
 
A white dot appears on the islands north of Australia.
 
We switch to a satellite photo from Advanced Spaceborne, Terra. Komodo National Park, Founded in 1980, East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia, Tropical Climate. This park's islands were also created by volcanic eruptions. The terrain is rugged and hilly, except along the flat shorelines. These islands see little or no rainfall for roughly eight months a year until the rainy monsoon season begins. Initially established to protect Komodo dragons—the world's largest lizard—the park expanded to protect terrestrial and marine habitats from human overpopulation.
 
Side-by-side image strips show each of the six national parks. Text, Islands are part of national parks around the world. Their designation preserves fragile ecosystems and native flora and fauna for current and future generations of visitors.