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The Falkland Islands: Earth Image of the Week November 30, 2012
Satellite image of India at night.
Spring growth has yet to begin. It will soon turn the archipelago's landscape a more verdent color.
A wind-swept archipelago in the far South Atlantic is claimed by both the United Kingdom and Argentina.

The Falkland Islands, or Islas Malvinas to Argentines, is officially a British Overseas Territory.

But at various times in the past it has been home to French, British, Spanish and Argentina settlements.

Britain re-established its rule in 1833 despite Argentina's claims that the islands belonged to it. The two countries went to war almost 150 years later over the islands’ sovereignty after Argentina mounted an invasion.

The two-month-long undeclared Falklands War ended in 1982 when Argentine forces surrendered and returned the islands to British administration.

Oil exploration, licensed by the Falkland Islands government, remains a sharp point of contention between the two countries as a result of ongoing maritime disputes.

Currently, about 3,140 people live in the Falklands, mostly in and around the capital of Stanley.

While few trees grow across the archipelago, grassland and heath provide fertile pastureland for nearly a half-million sheep and 5,000 head of cattle.

Farmers often burn the pastures in the early southern spring to encourage new growth. After lambs are born, they and the ewes are moved to the recently burned areas.

The image to the upper right was captured on November 17, 2012, by NASA’s Aqua Satellite. It shows plumes of smoke from pastureland burning to the southwest of Stanley.

Full story and image: NASA