STS61A-201-21

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Image Caption: This oblique, south-looking view of the Egyptian coast shows the
heavily vegetated delta of the Nile (left), with the Nile Valley
and Farafra oasis stretching into the great Sahara beyond. The
Aswan Dam hasregularized flood water for irrigation, but reduced
drastically the amount of nutrient flowing into the Mediterrane-
an. This in turn has reduced the size of fish populations and
hurt the Egyptian fishing industry.

The WWII battleground of El Alamein (arrow), where Montgomery's
Eighth Army met Rommel's Afrika Korps, is bounded to the south by
the Qatara depression (1) and to the north by the sea.

Around six million years ago it is believed that the Mediterrane-
an Sea dried up completely, forming an enormous basin well below
sea level in which atmospheric temperatures must have been far
higher than any presently recorded maxima. The Nile River cut a
great canyon in response to this drastic event. The present Nile
Valley floor and delta are thus geologically young features being
related to the present sea level of the Mediterranean.