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Discovery

Life Leaves Subtle Signature on Lay of the Land

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Landscape view with vegetation digitally removed on right; present on left

Perspective view of a landscape in the Angelo Coast Range Reserve along the South Fork Eel River in California. The area to the left has been colored according to the vegetation canopy height above the local ground surface; the area to the right has had vegetation digitally removed, revealing the details of the underlying topography.

Credit: UC-Berkeley


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High-resolution laser altimetry view of the Gabilan Mesa in central California.

Perspective view of the Gabilan Mesa in central California, derived from a high-resolution laser altimetry map. Such distinct, periodically spaced ridges and valleys result from erosional processes that are strongly influenced by biota. Nonetheless, no unique topographic signature of life on Earth has yet been found.

Credit: UC-Berkeley


Download the high-resolution JPG version of the image. (132 KB)

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