"Van Gogh" Algae
In the style of Van Gogh's "Starry Night," massive congregations of greenish phytoplankton swirl in dark water around Sweden's Gotland (see map) island in a satellite picture released this week by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).
The image of the Baltic Sea island is 1 of 40 in the new Earth as Art 3 collection, the latest compilation of Landsat pictures chosen for their artistic quality.
"The collected images are authentic and original in the truest sense," Matt Larsen, the USGS's associate director for Climate and Land Use Change, said in a statement. "These magnificently engaging portraits of Earth encourage us all to learn more about our complex world."
Population explosions, or blooms, of phytoplankton, like the one shown here, occur when deep currents bring nutrients up to sunlit surface waters, fueling the growth and reproduction of these tiny plants, according to the USGS.
(Related: "The Best Pictures of Earth: Reader Picks of NASA Shots.")
New Satellite Pictures: "Magnificent" Views of Earth
See Earth's largest sand sea, swirling ice "galaxies," Van Gogh-ready algae, and more in a new collection of artistic satellite images.