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Sediment from the Tigris and Euphrates
This page contains archived content and is no longer being updated.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.
There is a large amount of sediment clearly visible in the true-color
image of the Persian Gulf, acquired on November 1, 2001, by the
Moderate-resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS). Carried by the
confluence of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers (at center), the
sediment-laden waters appear light brown where they enter the northern
end of the Persian Gulf and then gradually dissipate into turquoise
swirls as they drift southward. The nutrients these sediments carry are
helping to support a phytoplankton bloom in the region, which adds some
darker green hues in the rich kaleidoscope of colors on the surface (see
the high resolution image).
The confluence of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers marks the
southernmost boundary between Iran (upper right) and Iraq (upper left).
South of Iraq are the countries of Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. The red dots
indicate the probable locations of fires burning at oil refineries.
Thin black plumes of smoke can be seen streaming away from several of
Image courtesy Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC