Today’s Video of the Day from the European Space Agency features a satellite view of the Mackenzie River, a major river system in the Canadian boreal forest.
The Mackenzie’s drainage basin is the second largest of any river in North America. The river delta stretches over 12,000 square kilometers, or 7,456 miles, and measures more than 190 kilometers from north to south.
The Mackenzie River covers a vast, thinly populated region of forest and tundra across the Northwest Territories – flowing from the Great Slave Lake to the Beaufort Sea in the Arctic Ocean.
According to ESA, around 75 percent of the Mackenzie basin sits within a permafrost area. Rising temperatures are causing permafrost to thaw, which releases methane and carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Thawing permafrost can also cause erosion, flooding, and landslides.
The Mackenzie provided the major route into Canada’s northern interior for European explorers as early as the late 18th century. The Peel River, carrying much of the runoff from the northern Yukon, joins in the delta at a point northeast of Fort McPherson. Below there, the Mackenzie diverges into several large channels with the largest heading north-northeast, emptying into the Beaufort Sea west of Tuktoyaktuk.
Video/ Image Credit: ESA
By Chrissy Sexton, Earth.com Staff Writer