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Image Caption: STS41D-044-0030 Irrigated Agriculture, South Africa September 1984
Irrigated agricultural field patterns stand out dramatically against the browns and grays of the semiarid environment in central South Africa. The regimented, systematic cropland fields are outlined by numerous irrigation ditches in this small river valley, which is on a tributary of the Vaal River. This agricultural valley, located about 65 miles (105 kilometers) due north of the city of Kimberley, is approximately 20 miles (32 kilometers) in length north-south and averages about 7 miles (10 kilometers) in width. The circular field patterns north of the main irrigated area indicate center-pivot irrigation technology is also being used to grow crops. The general terrain around this intensively cultivated valley consists of steep-sided river banks, hills, and low escarpments. A major north-south highway, as well as a railroad line, traverse the irrigated farmland. The city of Hartswater sits on the eastern edge of the irrigated fields, approximately midway between the north-south limits of the field patterns.