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The natural world. Looking pretty for 3.5b years.

River & there

Author: Hugh Bollinger/Tuesday, July 29, 2014/Categories: natural history, photography, environment

Deltas are the terminal outflow of rivers. They move liquids and sediments from up river to lowland estuaries or seas but not always.

The  Okavango Delta  in Africa is a river that hits a geologic barrier in the interior of Botswana and never reaches a coast. It is an ecological wonder attracting photographers and wildlife enthusiasts worldwide during the rainy season when it flows into an inland marsh delat. The entire Okavango system can be seen in a remarkable new photograph captured from space.

Okavango River Delta  (credit: NASA)

Another major river delta is produced by the Brahmaputra ending in the mangrove swamps of the Sundarbans of Bangladesh.

Brahmaputra River Delta and the Sundarbans  (credit: NASA)

In earlier eras, Mars also had rivers of water that created deltas of its own before the planet lost its surface waters. Fossil signatures remain and show meandering river channels that once drained into a shallow lake leaving sediment tracks before the delta dried away.

Ancient Mars River Delta  (credit: European Space Agency)

Stranger still are aquatic systems that still flow on Saturn's moon, Titan. The JPL/Caltech Galileo orbiter has used radar to peer through Titan's hazy atmosphere to capture images of rivers, deltas, and lakes. Unlike Earth and Mars Titan's rivers and lakes consist of liquid methane and ethane.

Titan Lake and River Delta  (credit: JPL/Caltech)

At -290F Titan will only likely have robots capturing that perfect river delta photograph.


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