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Indus River Valley
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Indus River Valley

April 1, 2007
This Envisat image shows the various types of terrain and vegetation cover of the Indus River Valley in the Sindh Province of Pakistan.

The Indus River, which originates in Tibet, is shown winding south from the top of the image through the plentiful green vegetation, which lies in stark contrast to the rugged limestone hills of the Kirthar Range to the west and the Thar Desert to the east.

Thar Desert, located partly in Pakistan and partly in India, is the world's seventh largest desert. During the January to June dry season, wind-driven sandstorms rising in the Thar are a common occurrence.

The Indus River empties into the Arabian Sea near the city of Karachi (not visible but located to the southwest). Stretching 2900 kilometers, the Indus is one of the longest rivers in the world. Its annual flow (207 000 000 000 cubic meters) is twice that of the Nile River.

In the 1920s, archaeologists excavated the Indus Valley cities of Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro and discovered an ancient civilization, referred to as the Indus Valley Civilization, had developed along the Indus River.

These ancient cities, which had drains, sewers and latrines, were carefully planned and laid out on the shores of the Indus. Archaeologists were able to determine that the river had flooded and destroyed the cities several times and each time they were rebuilt in exactly the same way.

This image was acquired by Envisat's Medium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MERIS) instrument on 26 February 2007, working in Full Resolution mode to provide a spatial resolution of 300 meters.

(published as Image of the Week 30th March 2007)

Technical Information:
  • Satellite: Envisat
  • Instrument: MERIS
  • Acquisition: 26-Feb-2007
  • Orbit nr: 26097
  • Center coordinates: lat. 26.93, lon. 68.46