Covering about 400,000 hectares (1 million acres) in Iran's Khuzestan province, the Shadegan wetlands are the largest in Iran. At their centre is Shadegan Pond, a large but shallow body of water surrounded by a varied landscape of sugar plantations, date palm orchards, small towns, and military fortifications.
The Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) on NASA's Terra satellite captured this image of the pond on 3 September 2012. The Karun River winds along its western edge. Fields of sugar cane stand northwest of it. The town of Shadegan-which is flanked by long, narrow orchards-lies to its east.
Environmental conditions at the wetlands vary throughout the year. In the fall and winter, rains in the Zagros Mountains send water flooding through an intricate series of shallow lagoons and marshes. Many of these areas dry out during the summer months. This image was acquired in the fall, when the area was relatively dry.
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Credit: NASA Earth Observatory