The Mahakam River appears as a black ribbon in this orthorectified image, meandering down from the highlands of Borneo, in Indonesia, towards the Makassar Strait. Along its course it passes the cities of Tenggarong (left) and Samarinda (right). Before spilling into the strait, it branches out into a fan-shaped delta along the coastline.
The Mahakam delta is a mixed fluvial-tidal dominated delta. The delta covers about 1800 km2, consisting of mangrove areas near the shore, Nypa swamps in the central areas, and lowland forest near the apex, corresponding to the first bifurcation, however, recent fishery development in this area has converted a vast area of mangrove into shrimp ponds (tambak).
The delta has three main distributaries system directed Northeast, Southeast and South. The area between distributaries consists of a series of tidal channels generally unconnected to the main distributaries. The distributary channels are narrow and rectilinear with the depth ranging from 8 to 15 m and distributary channel bifurcations appear every 10 to 15 km.