NM21-735-46

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Spacecraft nadir point: 47.5° N, 61.4° E

Photo center point: 46.5° N, 61.0° E

Nadir to Photo Center: South

Spacecraft Altitude: 210 nautical miles (389km)
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Image Caption: NM21-735-046 Little Aral Sea, Kazakhstan Spring-Summer 1996
The subdued tan and brown colors of the desert terrain around the Little Aral Sea (darker feature near bottom center), formerly known as the northern basin of the Aral Sea, tends to accentuate the stressful environmental conditions that presently exist in southwest Kazakhstan. The sizeable, light-colored area (bottom right corner) is the northeast corner of the Aral Sea. The thin, dark, meandering feature (upper right corner) is the main channel of the Syr Darya as it drains westward before the river diffuses into a broad delta (darker landscape near right edge of image) of many canals and streams. The dark features within the vicinity of the delta show the location and size of small lakes within the structure of the Syr Darya Delta. The highly reflective (whiter-looking features) areas are salt flats (dry lake beds) that are scattered throughout this arid landscape. Because of the rapid drop in sea level in the Aral Sea since 1960, the once thriving fishing port of Aralsk is now 60 miles (97 km) from the shore of the Little Aral Sea (northeast corner of the sea).