The Banks Peninsula, New Zealand was created by volcanic activity in the Miocene epoch about 10 million years ago. This image is from NASA's Terra spacecraft.

The Banks Peninsula, New Zealand was created by volcanic activity in the Miocene epoch about 10 million years ago. It is located off the east coast of South Island, about 80 km from Christchurch, the largest city on South Island. This stunning feature was created by the combined effects of glacial erosion and water erosion. The name of the peninsula comes from Sir Joseph Banks, a British biologist who sailed with Captain Cook. Now the peninsula is maintained as a tourist site. Akaroa city and harbor is the only place in New Zealand where the French colonized.

The image was acquired on November 10, 2006, covers an area of about 60 x 60 km, and is located near 43.6 degrees south latitude, 172.9 degrees east longitude.

With its 14 spectral bands from the visible to the thermal infrared wavelength region and its high spatial resolution of 15 to 90 meters (about 50 to 300 feet), ASTER images Earth to map and monitor the changing surface of our planet. ASTER is one of five Earth-observing instruments launched December 18, 1999, on NASA's Terra satellite. The instrument was built by Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. A joint U.S./Japan science team is responsible for validation and calibration of the instrument and the data products.

The broad spectral coverage and high spectral resolution of ASTER provides scientists in numerous disciplines with critical information for surface mapping and monitoring of dynamic conditions and temporal change. Example applications are: monitoring glacial advances and retreats; monitoring potentially active volcanoes; identifying crop stress; determining cloud morphology and physical properties; wetlands evaluation; thermal pollution monitoring; coral reef degradation; surface temperature mapping of soils and geology; and measuring surface heat balance.

The U.S. science team is located at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. The Terra mission is part of NASA's Science Mission Directorate.

More information about ASTER is available at http://asterweb.jpl.nasa.gov/.

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