Egyptian Dust Plume and the Red Sea (NASA, International Space Station, 06/22/13)
An Egyptian dust plume and the Red Sea are featured in this image photographed by an Expedition 36 crew member on the International Space Station. This photograph provides a panoramic view of most of the length of the Red Sea, with the northernmost end, the Gulf of Suez, just visible at top center -- fully 1,900 kilometers (ground distance) from the space station. The River Nile snakes its way northward through the Sahara Desert at top left. Much closer to the camera, but still more than 550 kilometers distant from the ground point above which the space station is orbiting, is a prominent dust plume surging out over the clear water of the Red Sea (foreground), reaching most of the way to Saudi Arabia. The "point source" of this plume is the delta of the southern Egyptian river Khor Baraka. Images from the spacecraft have shown that this delta is a common source for dust plumes, mainly because it is a relatively large area of exposed, loose sand and clay, easily lofted into the air. But the river also cuts through a high range of hills in a narrow valley that channels the wind, making it blow faster. This dramatic view of the Red Sea shows the generally parallel margins of the opposing coastlines. According to scientists, the rift or depression which now holds the Red Sea has been opening slowly for about 30 million years, and is nearly 300 kilometers wide in the region of the dust plume. Scientists believe the depression only recently filled with seawater within the last approximately five million years.
Image credit: NASA
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