Last update: June 27th, 2019 at 7:00 am
A bright band of dust sweeps down the center of ancient Mesopotamia in this Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) image, collected on April 19, 2005, by NASA’s Aqua satellite. The dust is blowing north out of the Syrian Desert in Iraq and Syria. Though the color matches the ground, the airborne dust is brighter and smoother in texture, making it stand out in the image. The dust blankets the land between the Euphrates River on the east and the Tigris River in the west—the region that nurtured some of the earliest human civilizations. Today, a green band of vegetation makes the Euphrates River easy to see in modern Syria. On the right side of the image, the Tigris is also lined in green as it flows through eastern Iraq. MODIS detected three fires to the east of the Tigris, and they are marked with red dots in this image.
Credit: Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC