Astrakhan and Volta Delta on Caspian Sea, Russia46.3N 48.0E
This orthorectified wide-swath ASAR image shows the Volga Delta, the largest river delta in Europe. It occurs where Europe’s largest river system, the Volga River, drains into the Caspian Sea in Russia’s Astrakhan Oblast. The delta is located in the Caspian Depression—the far eastern part of the delta lies in Kazakhstan. The delta drains into the Caspian approximately 60 km downstream from the city of Astrakhan.
Here, Astrakhan can be observed as a bright white area in the delta. It is a major city in southern European Russia and the administrative center of Astrakhan Oblast. The city lies on the left bank of the Volga River, close to where it discharges into the Caspian Sea at an altitude of 28 meters (92 ft) below sea level. The preliminary results of the 2010 census indicated a population of 520,662.
The Volga Delta has grown significantly in the past century because of changes in the level of the Caspian Sea. In 1880, the delta had an area of 3,222 km². Today the Volga Delta covers an area of 27,224 km² and is approximately 160 km across. It has a classical “delta pattern”. The delta lies in the arid climate zone, characterized by very little rainfall. The region receives less than one inch of rainfall in January and in July in normal years. Strong winds often sweep across the delta and form linear dunes. Along the front of the delta, one will find muddy sand shoals, mudflats, and coquina banks.