Rusty Red Waters in Madagascar

The waters of the Betsiboka River Delta, as seen from the International Space Station, are a vibrant orange. From left to right, the river branches off into many pathways, looking almost like the roots of a tree.

Iron-rich sediment colors the red-orange waters of the Betsiboka River Delta in Madagascar in this image taken by an astronaut on the International Space Station on Sept. 30, 2023. The sediment can clog waterways in the delta’s estuarial environment, but it can also form new islands that become colonized by mangroves. Despite its rusty color, this artery of water is important for biodiversity. Within the Betsiboka River Delta, the estuary supplies food, such as seagrasses, to the endangered green turtle and vulnerable dugong, or sea cow.

Text credit: Sara Schmidt

Image Credit: NASA

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