Earth from space: Shapeshifting rusty river winds through Madagascar’s ‘red lands’ | Space


Where is it? The Betsiboka River, Madagascar [-15.920729, 46.367102].

What’s in the photo? An intricate, rust-colored waterway shaped by mangrove islands.

Who took the photo? An unnamed astronaut onboard the International Space Station.

When was it taken? June 29, 2018.

This striking astronaut photo shows the intense color and intricate shape of Madagascar’s Betsiboka River as it meanders through an archipelago of mangrove islands that have helped to stabilize and reshape the waterway as destructive human practices push it to the brink of collapse. 

The Betsiboka stretches around 326 miles (525 kilometers) from one of Madagascar’s central highlands to Bombetoka Bay on the island nation’s northwest coast. As it approaches the sea, the river splits apart, forming a network of braided waterways, known as a delta, as the discolored water is diverted around a series of small islands.


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