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Mangoky River and Lake Ihotry by Madagascar’s West Coast

21.7S 43.3E

January 2nd, 2012 Category: Rivers, Sediments

Madagascar - December 24th, 2011

Several rivers, all tan due to the sediments they are carrying, can be observed flowing from Madagascar’s central highlands to the Mozambique Channel on the country’s west coast. One of the most visible of these is the Mangoky River, crossing the lower part of the image.

The Mangoky is a 564-kilometer-long (350 mi) river in that rises in the Central Highlands of Madagascar just east of the city of Fianarantsoa. The river flows generally in a westerly direction out of the highlands, crosses the southern extension of the Bemaraha Plateau, reaches the coastal plain and its delta, and enters the Mozambique Channel north of the city of Morombe.

Most of Madagascar has undergone serious deforestation during the last 40 years, chiefly from slash-and-burn practises by indigenous peoples. This loss of forest has led to extreme soil erosion in the Mangoky River basin, as evidenced by the many sandbars located within the river channel. Silt-laden, greenish-tan Lake Ihotry is clearly discernible south of the river. Between the lake and the coast is a rather large, whitish area of sand interspersed with silt-laden ponds. The southern portion of the delta is dominated by successive barrier island and spit formation.

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