Makran coast in southeastern Iran -

Today’s Image of the Day from NASA Earth Observatory features an astronaut photograph of the Makran coast along the Arabian Sea.

“Several capes and bays appear along the Makran coast – a strip of land along the Gulf of Oman in southeastern Iran and southwestern Pakistan. Nicknamed ‘hammerhead’ capes because of their elongated forms and narrow necks, the headlands are shaped by the region’s plate tectonics, primarily uplift,” said NASA.

“The long curves of the bays’ shorelines show accumulations of sandy sediment. This buildup appears as numerous semi-parallel lines that reveal the locations of past shorelines. These features, known as beach ridges, appear particularly well developed on the north shore of Chabahar Bay at the top of the image.”

NASA noted that scientists recently investigated the vulnerability of the bays to the effects of climate change and sea level rise.

“The research was conducted in part because the Makran coast experiences high rates of tectonic uplift. The researchers concluded that the harder rocks of the headlands were less vulnerable to wave erosion than the more erodible rocks where the neighboring bays formed. These bays are expected to change shape as waves and currents move sediment.” 

“The bays’ coastlines might move farther inland as sea level rises and shorelines erode. Or, the coastlines may advance seaward as coastal sediment accumulates over time.”

The Makran coast is known for its rugged terrain, dramatic cliffs, and sandy beaches. The coastal waters support vibrant marine life.

The beaches serve as nesting grounds for green and olive ridley turtles, highlighting their ecological significance.

Mangrove forests are prevalent around estuaries and river deltas, offering critical habitats for numerous fish species and birds.

The region is a hotspot for bird watching, including migratory and resident birds like herons, egrets, and flamingos.

Despite the arid, desert-like inland areas, resilient species such as the Arabian Oryx and various reptiles thrive.

Image Credit: NASA Earth Observatory 


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