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The ‘Place of Blue Smoke’ by NASA

The ‘Place of Blue Smoke’, 2013


A hazy blue mist creeping through the valleys of the Great Smoky Mountains shrouds the Appalachian mountain range. The Cherokee people, the original inhabitants of the area, called these dark, fog-streaked hills “Shaconage”—the “place of blue smoke.” According to NASA’s Earth Observatory, this haze, which looks dramatic in this satellite image, is the result of a natural process: plants and trees exhaling volatile compounds that scatter blue-violet light. The forest is deepest green on the steep mountain slopes; it’s cut back in the valleys to allow for farming and human habitation.

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