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Mayotte and Sediments from Sofia and Betsiboka Rivers Off Coast of Madagascar – September 21st, 2012

14.7S 46.8E

September 21st, 2012 Category: Image of the day, Rivers

Madagascar – September 16th, 2012

Rivers along the coast of Madagascar release rusty red sediments into the Mozambique Channel. Here, sediments can be seen spilling forth from the Sofia River (center, right) and the Betsiboka River (center, left). The sediments’ distinct red color is due to the red lateritic soils in Madagascar’s central highlands.

Visible by the top edge of the image is Mayotte, an overseas department and region of France consisting of a main island, Grande-Terre (or Mahoré), a smaller island, Petite-Terre (or Pamanzi), and several islets around these two. The archipelago is located in the northern Mozambique Channel in the Indian Ocean, namely between northwestern Madagascar and northeastern Mozambique. Mayotte’s area is 374 square kilometres (144 sq mi) and, with its estimated 194,000 people, is very densely populated (520 /km2 or 1,300 /sq mi).

Red Sediments from Sofia and Betsiboka Rivers, Madagascar

15.3S 47.0E

May 23rd, 2010 Category: Rivers, Sediments

Madagascar - April 28th, 2010

Madagascar - April 28th, 2010

Madagascar is an island nation in the western Indian Ocean off the southeast coast of Africa. The island is the world’s fourth largest, about 975 mi (1,570 km) long and 355 mi (570 km) wide. It is separated from the African coast by the Mozambique Channel.

Here, rusty red sediments from the Sofia River (above) and the Betsiboka River (below) can be seen spilling into the Mozambique Channel. The sediments’ distinct red color is due to the red lateritic soils in Madagascar’s central highlands.

Sofia and Betsiboka Rivers, Madagascar

April 30th, 2009 Category: Snapshots

Madagascar - April 8th, 2009

Madagascar - April 8th, 2009

Reddish sediments spill into the Mozambique Channel from the Sofia River (top right) and Betsiboka River (center) along Madagascar’s west coast.

The Betsiboka River discharges its sediments into the Bombetoka Bay, which then connects to the Mozambique Channel.

This discharge of reddish sediments is due to erosion caused by heavy deforestation in Madagascar. Here, the presence of Tropical Cyclone 26S (Jade) near the country’s east coast, also contributed to the high flow of sediments by provoking heavy rainfall.

Bombetoka Bay and Betsiboka River, Madagascar – February 28th, 2009

February 27th, 2009 Category: Image of the day, Rivers

Bombetoka Bay, Madagascar - February 19th, 2009

Bombetoka Bay, Madagascar - February 19th, 2009

Close-up of rivermouth

Close-up of rivermouth

Bombetoka Bay is a bay on the northwestern coast of Madagascar (left) near the city of Mahajanga, where the Betsiboka River flows into the Mozambique Channel.

Numerous islands and sandbars have formed in the estuary from the large amount of sediments carried in by the Betsiboka River, and have been shaped by the flow of the river and the push and pull of tides.

Along coastlines and on the islands, the vegetation is predominantly mangrove forests. In fact, Bombetoka Bay is home to some of Madagascar’s largest remaining communities of mangroves.

Soil Erosion in Madagascar

15.8S 46.2E

January 4th, 2013 Category: Deforestation, Rivers, Sediments

Madagascar – December 30th, 2012

The red color of the Betsiboka River and Bombetoka Bay into which it flows (top edge) demonstrate one of Madagascar’s greatest environmental problems — soil erosion. Deforestation of Madagascar’s central highlands has resulted in widespread soil erosion, which in some areas may top 400 tons/ha per year.

For Madagascar, a country that relies on agricultural production for the foundation of its economy, the loss of this soil is especially costly.  The removal of the native forest for cultivation and pastureland during the past 50 years has led to massive annual soil losses approaching 112 tons per acre (250 metric tons per hectare) in some regions of the island, the largest amount recorded anywhere in the world.