The Volga River Delta, Russia. The thick green ribbon of Russia’s Volga River winds south to empty into the northern end of the Caspian Sea in this true-color Aqua MODIS image from September 19, 2004. The northern end of the Caspian is quite shallow, and tends to be full of silt, in part from the Volga. The silt, as well as the presence of aquatic plants like algae, turn the water to shades of green, blue, and brown. The River also dumps sewage and industrial and agricultural waste into the Sea, which have had measurable impacts on human health and wildlife. Sturgeon used to be prolific in these waters, but the catch has dropped from 30,000 to 2,000 tons over the space of the last 15 years.
Elsewhere in the image, tiny red dots mark locations where the MODIS instrument detected fires. Some of the fires, which are mostly concentrated in the Russian side of the image, send smoke plumes into the atmosphere. On the Kazakhstan side of the border, few red dots mark the landscape. On the far right edge of the image, the Ural River runs in a faint line north toward the Ural Mountains. Also The Volga River Delta, Russia is lush.
Credit: Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC