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Posts tagged Astrakhan Oblast

Fire in the Volga Delta, Russia – September 20th, 2011

45.6N 47.7E

September 20th, 2011 Category: Fires, Image of the day, Lakes, Rivers

Russia - August 12th, 2011

The Volga Delta is the largest river delta in Europe, and occurs where Europe’s largest river system, the Volga River, drains into the Caspian Sea in Russia’s Astrakhan Oblast, north-east of the republic of Kalmykia.

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.

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. In the full image, a plume of smoke from a fire burning on the western side of the delta region.

Salt Lakes in Russia and Kazakhstan

48.7N 47.4E

July 18th, 2009 Category: Lakes

Russia and Kazakhstan - June 21st, 2009

Russia and Kazakhstan - June 21st, 2009

White salt lakes of various sizes dot the brown landscape of Russia (far left) and Kazakhstan, not far from the Caspian Sea. The green area in the bottom left corner is a part of the vegetated lands along the Volga River.

The rounded lake near the center of the left edge is Lake Elton, a salt lake in Volgograd Oblast, Russia, near the border with Kazakhstan. It has an area of 150 km² and is from 0.3 to 0.6 m deep.

Near the bottom edge is Lake Baskunchak, a salt lake of 115 km² in Astrakhan Oblast, Russia, located about 270 km north of the Caspian Sea and 53 km east of the Volga. The surface elevation of the lake is 21 m below sea level.

It is fed by a river that draws from an area of 11,000 km². The salinity of the lake is about 300 g/l. Its very pure salt (99.8 % NaCl) covers 80 % of Russia’s salt production.

The Three Zones of the Volga Delta, Russia – May 20th, 2009

46.7N 47.8E

May 20th, 2009 Category: Image of the day, Lakes, Rivers

Volga Delta, Russia - May 17th, 2009

Volga Delta, Russia - May 17th, 2009

The Volga Delta is located in Russia’s Astrakhan Oblast. It is the largest inland river delta in Europe, and occurs where Europe’s largest river system, the Volga River, drains into the Caspian Sea in the Caspian Depression. The far eastern part of the delta extends into Kazakhstan.

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. Green algae, nourished by fertilizers, is present in the waters around the delta.

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.

The changing level of the Caspian Sea has resulted in three distinct zones in the delta. The higher areas of the first zone are known as “Behr’s mounds,” which are linear ridges of clayey sands ranging from 400 m to 10 km in length, and averaging about eight meters in height. Between the Behr’s mounds are depressions that fill with water and become either fresh or saline bays.

The second zone, in the delta proper, generally has very little relief (usually less than one meter), and is the site of active and abandoned water channels, small dunes and algal flats.

The third zone is composed of a broad platform extending up to 60 km offshore, and is the submarine part of the delta.

The Volga River Delta in the Caspian Sea – April 19th, 2009

April 19th, 2009 Category: Image of the day, Rivers

Caspian Sea - March 31st, 2009

Caspian Sea - March 31st, 2009

The Volga Delta is the largest inland river delta in Europe, and occurs where Europe’s largest river system, the Volga River, drains into the Caspian Sea in Russia’s Astrakhan Oblast, north-east of the republic of Kalmykia. Although some clouds partially obstruct the view of the area, the delta is visible on the northwestern shores.

The Volga Delta has grown significantly in the past century because of changes in the level of the Caspian Sea. However, in recent years 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.

This algae is responsible for the green color of the water immediately around the delta, and may also be contributing to the green color present in the rest of the sea’s northern section.

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