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Sediments and Algae in the Persian Gulf – August 15th, 2009

29.5N 49.5E

August 15th, 2009 Category: Image of the day, Rivers

Persian Gulf - July 28th, 2009

Persian Gulf - July 28th, 2009

Iraq shoreline

Iraq shoreline

The Tigris and Euphrates Rivers carry great quantities of silt into the Persian Gulf off the shores of Iraq. The entire area near the rivermouths is a river delta interlaced by the channels of the two rivers and by irrigation canals.

In the close-up, agricultural areas are visible towards the upper left border, while marshlands and channels can be observed near the rivermouths.

Upon opening the full version of the main image, greenish blooms of algae can be seen in the gulf as well, particularly along the southern shoreline, which belongs to Saudi Arabia (left), Qatar (center) and the United Arab Emirates (right). The shores of Iran (above), on the other hand, show no algal growth and are flanked only intermittently by sediments.

Because the waters of the Tigris and Euphrates above their confluence are heavily silt-laden, irrigation and fairly frequent flooding deposit large quantities of silty loam in much of the delta area. Windborne silt also contributes to the total deposit of sediments.

It has been estimated that the delta plains are built up at the rate of nearly twenty centimeters in a century. In some areas, major floods lead to the deposit in temporary lakes of as much as thirty centimeters of mud.

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