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Fires and Gas Flares in Persian Gulf Countries
This page contains archived content and is no longer being updated. At the time of publication, it represented the best available science. However, more recent observations and studies may have rendered some content obsolete.
On November 4, 2002, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on the Terra satellite captured this true-color image of the Persian Gulf and surrounding countries. Clockwise from bottom left are Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq, and Iran. At upper left, the gray-green areas are the remaining wetlands of the Fertile Crescent—the watersheds and wetlands of the Tigris (north) and Euphrates (south) Rivers that join together before flowing out into the Persian Gulf. At top center, the Rud-e-Karun River flows southward from the mountains of western Iran. Each of these rivers carries a lot of sediment from the arid lands through which they travel, and that sediment fills the Gulf with swirls of tan, blues, and greens.
Across the image, numerous thermal anomalies have been detected by MODIS and are marked with red dots. In some cases these are probably fires (for example, at top center), and in other cases they are flaming oil wells (for example, in Kuwait), and can be seen emitting streams of dark smoke.