Earth from Space: The Triple Frontier

#Agriculture, #Forests, #Copernicus, #Image in the news

Published on 24 February 2023

The Triple Frontier, a region where Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina meet, is featured in this false-colour image, captured by the Copernicus Sentinel-2 mission.

This multitemporal composite was created by combining three different images, acquired in March, July and November 2022 using the mission’s infrared channel. Each image has been assigned a colour: red, green and blue respectively. This technique is used to highlight changes between acquisitions and to monitor the vegetation growth.

Cultivated fields stand out in bright colours. Shades of blue, cyan and violet indicate that the crops were lusher in November, when the third image was captured, compared to the previous acquisitions. Areas that have remained almost unchanged over the three dates, such as forests and urban areas, appear in shades of grey, while water bodies, which absorb most of the near-infrared light, can be easily identified in black.

The upper part of the image is dominated by the branched-shape of the Itaipú Reservoir, which lies on the Paraná River and crosses the border between Paraguay (west) and Brazil (east).

Further south, the confluence of the Iguaçu (or Iguazú) River into the Paraná River is where the borders of Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina meet. The sinuous paths of both waterways form natural boundaries. Paraguay lies west of the Paraná River, while the Iguaçu River divides Brazil (north) from Argentina (south).

A colourful patchwork of agricultural fields can be seen both in Paraguay and Brazil, while the Argentinian landscape here is covered mostly by a dense forest. About 20 km southeast of the confluence, along the Iguaçu River, lie the spectacular Iguaçu Falls, visible as an elongated horseshoe. One of the world’s largest and most impressive waterfall systems, the falls are at the heart of two adjacent national parks, which appear as grey areas in both Argentina and Brazil.


European Space Agency. (2023, February 24). Earth from Space: The Triple Frontier. ESA Observing the Earth.