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Aras River, Turkey-Armenia-Iran Border Region

Aras River, Turkey-Armenia-Iran Border Region

This astronaut photograph, taken from the International Space Station, highlights a segment of the international border between Armenia and Turkey. The Aras River separates the two countries, with Armenia to the north-northeast and Turkey to the south-southwest. Extensive green agricultural fields are common on both sides of the river (image top), as well as a number of gray to tan urban areas including Artashat and Armavir in Armenia, and Igdir in Turkey. While there have been efforts to normalize diplomatic relations between the two countries in recent years, the Armenia-Turkey border remains officially closed.

The dominant geographic feature in the region is Mt. Ararat, also known as Agri Dagi. The peak of Ararat, a large stratovolcano that last erupted in 1840 according to historical records, is located approximately 40 kilometers (25 miles) to the south of the Armenia-Turkey border. A lower peak to the east, known as Lesser or Little Ararat, is also volcanic in origin. Dark gray lava flows to the south of Mt. Ararat are located near the Turkish border with Iran. While this border is also closed along much of its length, official crossing points allow relatively easy travel between the two countries.

The white, glacier-clad peak of Mt. Ararat is evident at image center; dark green areas on the lower slopes indicate where vegetation cover is abundant. A large lake, Balik Golu or Fish Lake, is visible to the west (image lower left).

Astronaut photograph ISS028-E-15023 was acquired on July 8, 2011, with a Nikon D2Xs digital camera using a 65 mm lens, and is provided by the ISS Crew Earth Observations experiment and Image Science & Analysis Laboratory, Johnson Space Center. The image was taken by the Expedition 28 crew. The image in this article has been cropped and enhanced to improve contrast. Lens artifacts have been removed. The International Space Station Program supports the laboratory as part of the ISS National Lab to help astronauts take pictures of Earth that will be of the greatest value to scientists and the public, and to make those images freely available on the Internet. Additional images taken by astronauts and cosmonauts can be viewed at the NASA/JSC Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth. Caption by William L. Stefanov, Jacobs/ESCG at NASA-JSC.