Return to Earth From Space Home
Earth from Space logo Image Information Earth from Space logo

Display a Screen Layout for Printing

IMAGE: gray corner       IMAGE: gray corner
  Image: Geographic Location Direction Photo #: ISS030-E-59398 Date: Jan. 2012
Geographic Region: CHAD
Feature: LAKE FITRI, DUNES, NGELO, NESSABA

Ordering information for space photography
 
IMAGE: gray corner     IMAGE: gray corner

Image: gray corner     Image: gray corner
  View Low-Resolution Image  
  Lake Fitri, Chad

Lake Fitri is an endorheic, or terminal lake in a desert basin in the southern Sahara Desert. Muddy yellow-brown water marks the center of the depression (image center), with a ring of dark brown muds and burnt vegetation on the exposed lake floor to the north. The lake shoreline supports a thin line of reed and floating grass vegetation which appears as dark green in the image. Deserts have so little rainfall that many rivers cannot reach the sea, but end at local low points where they form lakes. Here the usually dry Wadi Batha empties into Lake Fitri. Over time, water flow in Wadi Batha has created a large delta, which occupies the entire top left third of the image—a sense of scale is given by the 23–km length of the lake. The lake has been designated under the Ramsar Convention as a wetland of international importance.

Other features visible in the image reveal evidence of significant climate change. The dry part of the present lake shows that the lake has been larger in the last several decades. But the lake was once many times larger than its present surface area, as shown by numerous sweeping curves of ancient beaches which are now situated many kilometers from the present shoreline, at higher altitudes (image upper right). Inland lakes are highly sensitive to the exact equilibrium between the amount of inflow from contributing rivers like Wadi Batha and evaporation. Each beach ridge therefore shows a different lake level and thus a different balance in the lake-river-climate system. A smaller river enters from the south (top right) and cuts through the beach reaches on its way to the lake.

The irregular, elongated, tan patches to the west of the lake are linear dunes aligned parallel to the dominant winds which blow from the northeast. The dunes have all formed on the downwind side (southwest) side of the lake since the lake bed and delta provide the sands which have built the dunes. The dunes indicate that during past climatic phases the lake has been almost or completely dry on repeated occasions—often enough for these great dunes, many kilometers long and several meters high, to form even in the lowest parts of the lake. The islands visible in the center of the lake are likewise remnants of dunes. These dunes are smaller than those on the lake margin, presumably because waves from the lake have eroded them. Villages occupy the points of some major dunes, and some islands, where fishermen can gain easy access to the lake.
 
Image: gray corner     Image: gray corner

Images: All Available Images Low-Resolution 131k
Mission: ISS030  
Roll - Frame: E - 59398
Geographical Name: CHAD  
Features: LAKE FITRI, DUNES, NGELO, NESSABA  
Center Lat x Lon: 12.8N x 17.5E
Film Exposure:   N=Normal exposure, U=Under exposed, O=Over exposed, F=out of Focus
Percentage of Cloud Cover-CLDP: 10
 
Camera: N2
 
Camera Tilt: 21   LO=Low Oblique, HO=High Oblique, NV=Near Vertical
Camera Focal Length: 180  
 
Nadir to Photo Center Direction: SW   The direction from the nadir to the center point, N=North, S=South, E=East, W=West
Stereo?:   Y=Yes there is an adjacent picture of the same area, N=No there isn't
Orbit Number:  
 
Date: 20120119   YYYYMMDD
Time: 121955   GMT HHMMSS
Nadir Lat: 13.8N  
Latitude of suborbital point of spacecraft
Nadir Lon: 18.5E  
Longitude of suborbital point of spacecraft
Sun Azimuth: 211   Clockwise angle in degrees from north to the sun measured at the nadir point
Space Craft Altitude: 216   nautical miles
Sun Elevation: 50   Angle in degrees between the horizon and the sun, measured at the nadir point
Land Views: BASIN, DESERT  
Water Views: DELTA, LAKE, RIVER, SEA  
Atmosphere Views:  
Man Made Views:  
City Views:  
Photo is not associated with any sequences


NASA Human
Space Flight
NASA
Home Page
JSC
Home Page
NASA
Image eXchange
JSC Digital
Image Collection
Earth Sciences &
Image Analysis