What are Barrancas?

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A barranca is a deep gorge or canyon. A word of Spanish American origin, the term ‘barranca’ stems from the Spanish word for “cliff, precipice, gully, ravine.”

One place to find barrancas is at the lower elevations of  La Malinche volcano in central Mexico. Found among the farmlands and villages of the area are narrow stream valleys that form the barrancas. The barrancas are dry most of the year. It’s during those dry times that area residents use the barrancas as pathways for foot and vehicle traffic, playing soccer, and dredging for materials for creating concrete blocks for building.

This Landsat 8 satellite image shows the northwestern side of La Malinche volcano where several barrancas can be seen.


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Satellite imagery of the northwestern side of La Malinche volcano, Mexico.  Image: NASA, public domain
Satellite imagery of the northwestern side of La Malinche volcano, Mexico. Image: NASA, public domain

More:

Dauphin, L. (2020, August 29). La Malinche’s barrancas. NASA Earth Observatory. https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/images/147194/la-malinches-barrancas

LaFevor, M. C. (2014). Conservation engineering and agricultural terracing in Tlaxcala, Mexico (Doctoral dissertation). http://hdl.handle.net/2152/24815


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