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Posts tagged Caspian Sea

Environmental Issues for Volga River, Russia – June 16th, 2013

46.0N 49.2E

June 16th, 2013 Category: Image of the day, Rivers MODISAqua

Russia – June 16th, 2013

Draining most of western Russian, the Volga is the largest river in Europe. From its source in the Valdai Hills north east of Moscow the river flows east and south east to the Caspian Sea. This thumbnail images focuses on its delta at the shores of the Caspian Sea, while a larger portion of the river’s meanderings can be seen to the north upon opening the full image.

A large number of tributaries make up the Volga river system the delta where the river enters the Caspian is composed of hundreds of channels and lies 28 m below sea level. For three months of the year the river is frozen for most of its length, the presence of a large number of dams has improved navigation but has reduced the river’s flow.

Consequently the river is suffering from pollution compounded by the fact that it flows through some of the most populated area of the country and includes an important agricultural area. Half of all river freight in Russia uses the Volga, which is connected to the Black sea via the Don river and canals (click here for more information).

Sediments and Phytoplankton Near Volga Delta in Northern Caspian Sea

46.1N 50.9E

May 11th, 2013 Category: Lakes, Rivers, Sediments

Russia – May 10th, 2013

 This image shows the Volga Delta and the northern part of the Caspian Sea, bright green and blue from sediments and phytoplankton. The sedimentation rates and the types of recent deposits in the Northern Caspian Sea are governed mainly by the abundant Volga discharge.

Investigations based on a complex of techniques revealed that the modern deposits in the Northern Caspian Sea involve terrigenous sands and aleurites with an admixture of detritus and intact bivalve shells, including coquina. Generally, these deposits overlay dark grayish viscous clays.

A similar geological situation occurs in the Volga delta; however, the local deposits are much poorer in biogenic constituents. Illite prevails among the clay minerals. The heavy transparent minerals are represented in the coarse aleurite fraction mostly by epidotes, while quartz and feldspars represent the lighter minerals. The sedimentary material in the Volga delta is far from completely differentiated into fractions due to the abundance of terrigenous inflows, which exceed the energy potential of the river (click here for more information).

Dust Over Caspian Sea South of Volga Delta

39.4N 53.1E

April 4th, 2013 Category: Dust Storms, Lakes, Rivers

Caspian Sea – April 2nd, 2013

Plumes of dust blow northwestward off the eastern shores of the Caspian Sea. One plume blows across the lower part of Karabogas Bay, while the other, slightly further south, blows across the peninsula on which the city of Hazar is located, in Turkmenistan. Visible in the northern part of the sea are sediments and phytoplankton growth near the fan-shaped Volga River Delta.

Plume of Dust Over Caspian Sea

39.4N 53.1E

April 3rd, 2013 Category: Dust Storms, Lakes

Caspian Sea – April 2nd, 2013

A plume of dust blows across the peninsula on the eastern shores of the Caspian Sea on which the city of Hazar, Turkmenistan, is located. A thinner veil of dust can also be seen over the Caspian Sea, Karabogas Bay (north of the peninsula) and Sarygamysh Lake (upper right).

Desertificatio and the Desiccated South Aral Sea

46.7N 61.6E

April 2nd, 2013 Category: Climate Change, Lakes

Aral Sea – April 1st, 2013

While water is present in the North Aral Sea, the South Aral Sea, which lies in poorer Uzbekistan, has been largely abandoned to its fate. Only excess water from the North Aral Sea is now periodically allowed to flow into the largely dried-up South Aral Sea through a sluice in the dike.

Discussions had been held on recreating a channel between the somewhat improved North and the desiccated South, along with uncertain wetland restoration plans throughout the region, but political will is lacking. Uzbekistan shows no interest in abandoning the Amu Darya river as an abundant source of cotton irrigation, and instead is moving toward oil exploration in the drying South Aral seabed.

Attempts to mitigate the effects of desertification include planting vegetation in the newly exposed seabed; however, intermittent flooding of the eastern basin is likely to prove problematic for any development. Redirecting what little flow there is from Amu Darya to the western basin may salvage fisheries there while relieving the flooding of the eastern basin.

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