Caspian Sea Sediments

December 05, 2002


Provided by: Earth Observatory, NASA GSFC
Summary authors & editors: Jim Foster

This early June through late November (2002) image sequence was captured by the Sea-viewing Wide Field-of-view Sensor (SeaWiFS) and shows variations in sediment in the northern portion of the Caspian Sea. The Caspian Sea is the world's largest inland sea or lake. Its primary supply of fresh water, and sediment as well, comes from the Volga River, which can be seen entering the Caspian from the northwest. Other large rivers, such as the Ural River and Emba River, also empty into the northern Caspian Sea. These rivers meander through the Russian steppes, a leading grain growing area, picking up silt and soil particles along the way. Since about 1978, the level of the Caspian Sea has risen well over a meter, whereas the Aral Sea, about 500 miles or 900 km to the east of the Caspian, has been shrinking. While water has been siphoned away from rivers feeding the Aral Sea, largely for irrigation, the Caspian Sea area has expanded slightly, as a result of an increase in precipitation.

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