STS092-723-79

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Spacecraft nadir point: 11.3° N, 45.3° E

Photo center point: 11.5° N, 43.0° E

Nadir to Photo Center: West

Spacecraft Altitude: 202 nautical miles (374km)
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Image Caption: Gulf of Tadjourah, Djibouti
The Gulf of Tadjourah is in the Afar region of the Horn of Africa, where
three great rift systems interact - the Gulf of Aden, Red Sea, and
Ethiopian rifts; the Gulf is an extension of the Aden rift. Lake Assal
(top center) occupies a rift valley and is the lowest point in Africa
(168 m below sea level); a natural barrier of young lava flows (less
than 0.3 million years old) keeps marine waters of the Gulf of Tadjourah
from filling the depression. Sea water does occasionally spill into Lake
Assal, then evaporates to leave highly reflective salt deposits on the
lake floor, well below sea level. The dark, linear features in the lava
fields are fault escarpments that cast shadows in the afternoon light;
particularly good examples can be seen west (left) of Lake Assal.