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This photograph was taken as astronauts on the International Space Station flew over the delta and green swamps of the Paraná River on the Atlantic coast of Argentina on 6 April 2015. The Paraná, South America's second largest river after the Amazon, pours muddy water into a wide estuary known as the Plata River.

The gray mass of Argentina's capital city, Buenos Aires (metro population of 12.7 million in 2010), is less prominent when viewed from space, although astronauts quickly attune their eyes to the subtle signature of cityscapes. Numerous small farm plots on red soils surround the delta and city.

The muddy, brown Paraná originates in the Andes Mountains. The river mirrors the Amazon, which is also turbid and arises in the Andes. In this image, tidal backwash transports muddy water a short distance upstream into the smaller Uruguay River.

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Credit: NASA Earth Observatory

Parana River Delta


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