This detailed astronaut photograph highlights the southern
Mingachevir Reservoir in north-central Azerbaijan. The Mingachevir
Reservoir occupies part of the Kura Basin, a topographic depression
located between the Greater Caucasus Mountains to the northeast and the
Lesser Caucasus Mountains to the southwest. Folded layers of relatively
young (less than 5. 3 million years old) sedimentary rock, explosive
volcanic products (ash and tuff),
and unconsolidated sediments form the gray hills along the northern and
southern shorelines of the reservoir (image center and right).
Afternoon sun highlights distinctive parallel patterns in the hills that
are the result of water and wind erosion of different rock layers
exposed at the surface.
The nearby city of Mingachevir (left) is split by the Kur River after
it passes through the dam and hydroelectric power station complex at
image top center. The current city was built in support of the
hydroelectric power station constructed as part of the then-Soviet
Union’s energy infrastructure for the region. Today, Mingachevir is the
fourth-largest city in Azerbaijan (by population), and it has become a
cultural and economic center of the country. The reservoir held
approximately 15 billion cubic meters of water at the time this image
was taken, with a total engineered capacity of 16 billion cubic meters.
The width of the reservoir illustrated here is approximately 8
kilometers (5 miles); a jet flying over the reservoir left a contrail
midway between the shorelines.
Astronaut photograph ISS023-E-35670
was acquired on May 8, 2010, with a Nikon D3S digital camera, and is
provided by the ISS Crew Earth Observations experiment and Image Science
& Analysis Laboratory, Johnson Space Center. The image was taken by
23 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, NASA-JSC.