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Brazilian Crop Circles: Earth Image of the Week March 4, 2011
Satellite Image of Brazilian farmland
Central-pivot irrigation creates an artistic array of crop circles in southeastern Brazil.
Many agricultural areas of South America are currently near the peak of their summertime growing season.

This is in contrast to the barren landscape blanketing much of Europe and North America as the Northern Hemisphere winter slowly begins to ebb.

The photograph of the right shows a prime tract of Brazilian agriculture, and was captured by an astronaut orbiting aboard the International Space Station on February 10, 2011.

The mixture of regularly-gridded polygonal fields and circular central-pivot fields seen in the image are located a little over a mile to the southwest of Perdizes, in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais.

Perdizes means “partridges” in the Portuguese language.

While the areas seen in shades of violet, red and tan are where fields are fallow, adjacent green fields are producing such crops as sunflowers, wheat, potatoes, soybeans, rice and corn.

In the absence of those crops, the ground shows up in far warmer tones, representing the iron and aluminum oxides typical of highly weathered soil in such a hot, tropical climate.

The dark blue irrigation pond seen in the left of the image is part of an extensive network of tributaries of the Araguari River and its adjacent flood plain.

Brazilian national highway 452 can also be seen at the top of the image, passing by what is apparently the complex responsible for operations in at least some of the nearby farmland.

Full story and image: NASA