Caspian Sea, Turkmenistan

A surprising stretch of green vegetation in otherwise pale, arid terrain, the Elburz Mountains (bottom center) in northern Iran capture the majority of the moisture coming from the Caspian Sea (image left). Several scattered fires (red dots) have been detected by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) in this image from June 24, 2002. Along the shores of Turkmenistan, the Caspian Sea is swirling with blues and greens, which may be a mixture of sediment and microscopic marine plants called phytoplankton. In interior Turkmenistan, (left center) the vast Karakum Desert covers almost 80 percent of the country.
Source: Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC