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Lebanon's Snowy Mountains Seen from Space

(Image credit: NASA Earth Observatory.)

Bordering the eastern Mediterranean Sea, Lebanon might call to mind sunny beaches and historic port cities like Sidon and Tyre.

Perhaps lesser known are Lebanon's towering, snowy mountains and ski resorts. In fact, the name Lebanon is derived from the Semitic word "lbn" that means "white" in reference to either the snow-covered mountains or limestone cliffs.

The above image, taken by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA's Terra satellite on March 17, highlights the country's two mountain ranges, Jebel Liban and Jabal ash Sharqi. (Jebel or jabal mean "mountain" in Arabic.)

The two mountain ranges are covered in fresh snow. A few days before the image was taken, a late-winter storm coated the mountains with a few feet of snow, said local news reports.

Snow is not unusual in Lebanon, where ski resorts are open about three months of the year. This past winter, ski resorts opened in mid-December and were expected to stay open through late March or early April. Like Southern California, which is at the same latitude and has a similar climate, Lebanon receives snow primarily in the high mountains, where temperatures are cooler.

The large image, below, which encompasses a wider area, also shows snow in the coastal mountains of Syria, home to one of the Middle East's current uprisings.

(Image credit: NASA Earth Observatory.)
Live Science Staff
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