Space Shuttle Mission Report Series: Earth Observations during STS-066
November 3 - 14, 1994
(continued)

Africa
     LAKE CHAD, AFRICA (STS066-94-020). This oblique view of Lake Chad (fig. 6) was taken by the STS-66 crew in November, 1994. This lake lies mainly in the Republic of Chad, and partly in Nigeria, Cameroon and Niger. The size of Lake Chad varies seasonally and is actually divided into north and south basins; neither of which is generally more than 25 feet (7.6 meters) deep. In this photograph, all the water appears to be located in the southern basin with the northern and eastern edges of both basins covered with sand dunes which have invaded the area where water once stood. The prevailing wind direction can be seen from the agriculture burning in both basins to be from the east.

Figure 6     Figure 6: Lake Chad, Africa

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     SUDAN, AFRICA (STS066-84-038). Agricultural patterns are distinctly visible in this near-vertical false color infrared photograph (fig. 7). The area depicted on the photograph is south of Khartoum between the White and Blue Nile Rivers. By far the most important irrigation project in sub-Saharan Africa, both large and small scale agricultural enterprises have been developed using water transported from the perennial Nile Rivers. Hundreds of small rectangular fields and water-filled canals can be seen in this photograph. Throughout the year one half of the fields will be in crops and the other half will be fallow. This rotation system is for resting the soil and for pest control. The major crops grown in this region include cotton, durra, and millet.

Figure 7     Figure 7: Sudan, Africa

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     OKAVANGO DELTA, BOTSWANA (STS066-122-091). This view looking south-southeast shows clouds over the Okavango Delta area of northern Botswana. The Okavango is one of the wilder, less spoiled regions of Africa. The area still supports great herds of wild animals such as elephant, zebra and the cape buffalo. Despite conservation efforts from the stable government of Botswana, delta habitats are pressured. The Okavango River (lower left of view) brings water from the high, wet plateaus of Angola into the Kalahari Desert, and enormous inland basin. As a result of a series of small faults (upper center of the view) related to the African Rift System, the river is dammed up in the form of swampy inland delta. Here, water is consumed by evaporation, infiltration, and the swamp forests. Late summer floods take six months to slowly penetrate the 160 kilometer (95 miles) to the other end of the Delta. The visual patterns of the area are strongly linear: straight sand dunes occur in many places and can be seen across the bottom portion of the photograph. Numerous brush-fire scars produce a complex, straight-edged pattern over much of the lower portion of this view. Lake Ngami (upper right of view) was once permanently full as late as the middle 1800's. Changes in the climate of the area over the last 100 years has changed the size and shape of the inland delta.

Figure 8     Figure 8: The Okavango Delta, Botswana

Moderate resolution (150 dpi, 202 Kb)
High resolution (300 dpi, 2.9 Mb)

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