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Astronaut captures natural wonders seen from the International Space Station

Astronaut captures natural wonders seen from the International Space Station

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Astronaut captures natural wonders seen from the International Space StationAstronaut captures natural wonders seen from the International Space Station

An astronaut aboard the International Space Station (ISS) recently captured a stunning photo of the Green River winding through red-rock canyons in eastern Utah, USA. The photo highlights the curve known as Bowknot Bend, a prominent feature of Labyrinth Canyon, north of Canyonlands National Park.

Bowknot Bend, named by John Wesley Powell during his 1869 expedition, is known for its distinctive loop where the river bends back. This 12-mile loop is located about 25 miles west of Moab, Utah, and is almost completely reconnected, separated by only a narrow strip. Over time, river erosion will cut through this narrow passage, creating a dead branch or abandoned meander.

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An astronaut aboard the International Space Station captured the winding Green River in the United States. (Image: NASA Earth Observation)

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Formation and erosion

  • The high contrast of the ISS image emphasizes the 3D perspective of the 300-meter-deep Labyrinth Canyon.
  • Labyrinth Canyon, like the Grand Canyon, was formed by the uplift of the Colorado Plateau, causing the Green River to cut through several layers of rock over the course of geologic history.
  • Labyrinth Canyon is not only a geological wonder, but also a historic site with inactive uranium mines, such as the Ellen Mine, built into its walls.
  • These mines were established to extract uranium ore from ancient river sandstone layers.
  • Bowknot Bend is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts.
  • Hiking, canoeing and rafting are popular activities that allow visitors to explore the many caves and cavities in Labyrinth Canyon.
  • The Bowknot Bend Isthmus offers a unique viewpoint for hikers.

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