Where the Danube meets the Black Sea
The Danube River is the largest in the European Union, its watershed draining 801,463 square kilometres (309,447 square miles) of land across 19 countries. Where that great river reaches the Black Sea, a remarkable delta has formed - the "Everglades" of Europe. The Danube Delta is home to more than 300 species of bird and 45 species of freshwater fish.
The Danube Delta has been home to human settlements since the end of the Stone Age (the Neolithic Period), and the ancient Greeks, Romans, and Byzantines all built trading ports and military outposts along this coast. Today, the border between Romania and Ukraine cuts through the northern part of the delta. The area is a United Nations World Heritage Site, both for its natural and human history, and for the traditional maritime culture that persists in its marshes. All the while, the landscape has been shaped and re-shaped by nature and man.
This image was acquired on 05 February 2013, by the Advanced Land Imager (ALI) on NASA's Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite. The Danube Delta has a number of lobes formed over the past several thousand years, and this image is focused largely on the northernmost Chilia (or Kilia) lobe. It is the youngest section of the delta-somewhere between 300 to 400 years old - and lies mostly within Ukraine. Much of the land in this image is officially considered part of the Danube Biosphere Reserve.
Near the center of the image, the small city of Vylkove is known as the "Ukranian Venice," due to its canals. To the lower left, the older Sulina lobe of the delta stretches to the south and further inland into Romania. White and brown curved lines reveal beach ridges and former shorelines, with the whiter ridges composed almost entirely of pure quartz sand in high dunes. To the east of the ridges, most of the landscape is flat marshland that is mostly brown in the barren days of winter.
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Credit: NASA Earth Observatory