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Algal Blooms in Caspian Sea Near Volga Delta, Russia and Kazakhstan

45.7N 48.8E

October 18th, 2011 Category: Lakes, Rivers, Wetlands

Caspian Sea - October 12th, 2011

The brown and green fan-shaped area on the northwestern shores of the Caspian Sea, on the left side of this image, is the Volga Delta. It is the largest river delta in Europe, although the far eastern part of the delta lies in Kazakhstan.

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, allowing them to grow larger. These algal blooms appear bright green in this image.

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