Where on Earth: Yaguas National Park

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What on Earth is this winding, brown ribbon?

Produced by the Space Telescope Science Institute’s Office of Public Outreach in collaboration with the NASA Earth Observatory (https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/).
Story adapted from Image of the Day post by Kathryn Hansen: https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/images/91871/perus-newest-national-park

  • Image of Yaguas River: Operational Land Imager (OLI), Landsat 8 
  • Vegetation Map based on data from Global Forest Watch; Yaguas River, Yaguas National Park, Peru: Operational Land Imager (OLI), Landsat 8
  • Image of Yaguas River showing oxbow lakes: Operational Land Imager (OLI), Landsat 8 
  • Written by Claire Blome
  • Designed by Dani Player
  • Music from Yesh Music (ASCAP)

A collage of satellite imagery. Text, Where on Earth?
A squiggly tan river twists and turns across a completely green forest terrain. Photographed by Operational Land Imager, Landsat 8. What on Earth is this winding, brown ribbon? A. A river in Peru. B. A footpath in Spain. C. A tornado track in New Zealand. D. The route for the Tour de France.
The correct answer is A, a river in Peru.
Yaguas River, Yaguas National Park, Peru. In 2018, Peru's Ministry of the Environment formally declared the area surrounding the Yaguas River a national park.
The park protects more than 8,000 square kilometers, 2 million acres, of Amazon rainforest, including this winding, or meandering, river. A vegetation map based on data from Global Forest Watch shows the park boundaries south of the Putumayo River.
Over time, the Yaguas River's looping meanders have become more pronounced. When two loops in the river meet, they eventually connect, rerouting the river and leaving behind crescent-shaped oxbow lakes. Several oxbows are pointed out on the image.
Yaguas National Park's rainforest has many other riches, including giant otters, river dolphins, and more than 550 species of freshwater fish.
It also protects the livelihoods of six indigenous peoples, who call Yaguas sachamma, roughly translating to "mother jungle."
Zooming out from the Yaguas to the whole Earth in space. Google Earth, Landsat, Copernicus, SIO, NOAA, US Navy, NGA, GEBCO, USGS. Music courtesy of Yesh Music, ASCAP. Where on Earth?