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Environmental Issues for Volga River, Russia – June 16th, 2013

46.0N 49.2E

June 16th, 2013 Category: Image of the day, Rivers MODISAqua

Russia – June 16th, 2013

Draining most of western Russian, the Volga is the largest river in Europe. From its source in the Valdai Hills north east of Moscow the river flows east and south east to the Caspian Sea. This thumbnail images focuses on its delta at the shores of the Caspian Sea, while a larger portion of the river’s meanderings can be seen to the north upon opening the full image.

A large number of tributaries make up the Volga river system the delta where the river enters the Caspian is composed of hundreds of channels and lies 28 m below sea level. For three months of the year the river is frozen for most of its length, the presence of a large number of dams has improved navigation but has reduced the river’s flow.

Consequently the river is suffering from pollution compounded by the fact that it flows through some of the most populated area of the country and includes an important agricultural area. Half of all river freight in Russia uses the Volga, which is connected to the Black sea via the Don river and canals (click here for more information).

Algal Growth Near Volga River Delta, Caspian Sea

45.9N 49.9E

September 23rd, 2012 Category: Phytoplankton, Rivers, Sediments

Caspian Sea – September 17th, 2012

The Volga Delta is the largest river delta in Europe, and occurs where Europe’s largest river system, the Volga River, drains into the Caspian Sea in Russia’s Astrakhan Oblast, north-east of the republic of Kalmykia. The delta is located in the Caspian Depression—the far eastern part of the delta lies in Kazakhstan. The delta drains into the Caspian approximately 60 km downstream from the city of Astrakhan.

Industrial and agricultural modification to the delta plain has resulted in significant wetland loss. Between 1984 and 2001, the delta lost 277 km² of wetlands, or an average of approximately 16 km² per year, from natural and human-induced causes. The Volga discharges large amounts of industrial waste and sediment into the relatively shallow northern part of the Caspian Sea. The added fertilizers nourish the algal blooms that grow on the surface of the sea, clearly visible in the upper half of this image, allowing them to grow larger.

Smoke from Fires East of Volga River, Russia

58.4N 56.3E

July 16th, 2012 Category: Fires, Rivers

Russia – July 13th, 2012

Fires in Russia, north of the border with Kazakhstan, create a large swath of smoky haze. One large fire can be seen near the image center, its plume of smoke billowing northeast and then curving to the east and the southeast. Smoke is also blown to the west, towards the Volga River, which is visible as a thick blue band near the left edge.

Volgograd on Banks of Volga River, Russia

48.7N 44.5E

April 17th, 2012 Category: Rivers

Russia - April 14th, 2012

The thick line crossing this image is the Volgograd Reservoir, on the Volga River, the longest river in Europe. The Volgograd Reservoir has an area of 3,117 km², volume is 31,5 km², length is 540 km, maximal width is 17 km, average depth is 10.1 m. It is the third largest reservoir in Russia.

The Volga River belongs to the closed basin of the Caspian Sea. Rising in the Valdai Hills 225 meters (738 ft) above sea level northwest of Moscow It turns south and then east; at its most strategic point, it bends toward the Don (“the big bend”). Volgograd, formerly Stalingrad, is located there, visible as a grey area in the full image.


Sediments by Volga River Delta in Caspian Sea – May 12th, 2011

45.5N 48.9E

May 12th, 2011 Category: Image of the day, Sediments

Caspian Sea - May 3rd, 2011

Although the Volga River Delta is partially obscured by clouds, its final reaches along the shores of the Caspian Sea can be observed, as can the sediments spilling out of it and into the lake.

While the lowest reaches of the delta appear brown, the sediments flowing out change from light brown to golden to green and finally to turquoise in color as they mix with the waters of the Caspian Sea.