Faiyum Oasis and Lake Moeris Near the Nile River, Egypt – February 14th, 201029.3N 30.8E
The thick green band running vertically through the center of this image is fertile land along the banks of the Nile River, in Egypt. Upon opening the full image, the Nile itself can be seen as a thinner, dark blue ribbon towards the right edge of the green land.
Branching off to the west is a heart-shaped area of green land known as the Faiyum Oasis. It is a depression or basin in the desert immediately to the west of the Nile south of Cairo. The extent of the basin area is estimated at between 490 mi² (1,270 km²) and 656 mi² (1700 km²). Over 400 mile² (1,000 km²) of the Faiyum Oasis is cultivated, the chief crops being cereals and cotton.
The basin floor comprises fields watered by a channel of the Nile, the Bahr Yussef, as it drains into a desert depression to the west of the Nile Valley. The Bahr Yussef veers west through a narrow neck of land north of Ihnasya; it then branches out, providing rich agricultural land in the Faiyum basin, draining into the large saltwater Lake Moeris (Birket Qarun), visible as a blue area at the upper limits of the green land.
Differing from typical oases, whose fertility depends on water obtained from springs, the cultivated land in the Faiyum is formed of Nile mud brought down by the Bahr Yussef, 15 miles (24 km) in length. Between the beginning of Bahr Yussef at El-Lahun to its end at the city of Faiyum, several canals branch off to irrigate the Faiyum Governorate. The drainage water flows into Lake Moeris.