Where on Earth: Zagros Mountains

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What on Earth is the gray, oblong feature in this landscape?

Produced by the Space Telescope Science Institute’s Office of Public Outreach in collaboration with the NASA Earth Observatory (https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/).

Story adapted from Image of the Day post by William L. Stefanov, NASA-JSC: https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/images/91264/salt-glacier-zagros-mountains

  • Image of Zagros Salt Glacier by Expedition 52 Crew, International Space Station 
  • Image of Salt glacier, Iran: Credit Hadi Karimi
  • Written by Margaret Carruthers
  • Designed by Dani Player
  • Music from Yesh Music (ASCAP)

Collage of distinct satellite images of natural phenomena.
Text, where on earth?
What is this landform? Satellite image, a white oval formation covered in white veins. Text, A, a salt glacier in Iran, B, an impact crater in Australia, C, a petrified dune field in China, D, a volcanic lava flow in Tanzania.
A is highlighted, a salt glacier in Iran. Labels appear on map.
Text, Numerous salt domes and salt glaciers are found in the valleys of the Zagros Mountains in southeastern Iran.
Salt domes form when salt that is buried deep underground rises toward the surface, pushing overlying layers of rock upward.
The salt is extruded onto the surface and then flows slowly downhill much like the ice in a glacier.
In this case, the salt is flowing out in all directions, away from the dome.
Salt glaciers are sometimes called namakiers from namak, the Farsi word for salt. Image, mountains with frosty white slopes.
The map recedes until we have the whole Earth before us . Text, Music courtesy of Yesh Music A S C A P .
Where on earth?