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This true-color Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) from October 24, 2002, shows the Mesopotamian Fertile Crescent running through the deserts of Iraq. Cradled between the Euphrates River to the west and the Tigris River to the east, the area has been a haven for humans and other life for thousands of years. Increasing human demand for water has placed great pressure on the once fertile wetlands, and they have shrunk considerably. In southern Iraq, MODIS detected several heat signatures, which are likely gas flares from oil wells in the region. South of Iraq is Saudi Arabia and to the east is Iran. To the north is Turkey, and to the northwest is Syria. The Euphrates River stretches down into Iraq from Syria.

Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC

Published November 20, 2002
Data acquired October 24 - 24, 2002

Terra > MODIS
Biosphere > Terrestrial Ecosystems > Deserts
Biosphere > Terrestrial Habitat > Desert