A Delta Oasis in Kazakhstan

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The rich mosaic of reeds, ponds, and meadows of the Ili River Delta offer habitat for hundreds of species. 

  • NASA Earth Observatory image by Lauren Dauphin, using VIIRS data from the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership.
  • NASA Earth Observatory images by Joshua Stevens, using Landsat data from the U.S. Geological Survey.
  • Image of the Day story by Adam Voiland: https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/images/146552/a-delta-oasis-in-southeastern-kazakhstan 
  • Adaptation of images and text to ViewSpace by Margaret W. Carruthers and Dani Player 
  • Music from Music for Nonprofits

Text, Earth Watch, Exploring the blue planet by satellite. Earth Observatory. Earth Observatory dot nasa dot gov. Operational Land Imager, Landsat 8 satellite.
A Delta Oasis in Kazakhstan. An arrow points to Lake Balkhash in the north and Ili River in the South. Text, The Ili River flows westward from China into southeastern Kazakhstan, where it empties into Lake Balkhash. April 8, 2019.
At the mouth of the river is a wide delta, a vast wetland that contrasts sharply with the surrounding deserts. Arrow points to Ili River Delta below the lake but above the river.
Text, When Landsat 8 acquired this image, the Ili River Delta was just beginning to shake off the chill of winter. March 7, 2020. A second photo depicts fractured blocks of ice on the lake. Text, While many of the delta's lakes and ponds were still frozen, the ice on Lake Balkhash was breaking up, revealing swirls of sediment and the shallow, sandy bed of the western part of the lake.
Arrows point to the ice and the sediment, which is a pale blue green color. Text, Hundreds of species of plants, mammals, birds, fish and other animals make a home in the expansive delta and estuary.
In 2012, Kazakhstan declared the delta a wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention, a treaty that encourages conservation of wetlands around the world.
To learn more, go to earth observatory dot nasa dot gov.