STS51I-39-0008 Omo River Delta and Lake Turkana, Ethiopia and Kenya August 1985
The Omo River Delta, growing and expanding into Lake Turkana (Lake Rudolf) can be seen in this near-vertical photograph as the dark green area at the north end of the lake. A small island, remnant of an old volcanic peak, can be seen in the middle of the lake south of the delta. Before 1950, the Omo River, 400 miles (650 kilometers) long, with headwaters in the Ethiopian Highlands, emptied into the lake with little sedimentation. Lake Turkana, 154 miles (250 kilometers) long and 10 to 20 miles (16 to 32 kilometers) wide, is part of the Great Rift Valley of eastern Africa. Deforestation in the southern Ethiopian Highlands began in earnest in the 1950s and continues today. Since 1960 a delta has been forming and expanding outward into a very deep Lake Rudolf. Even with this influx of fresh water, Lake Rudolf, surrounded on all sides by volcanoes, has no natural outlet; thus, its water is becoming more saline each year. Fish, the staple of the local villagers' diet, are declining in numbers as the lake water becomes more laden with sediment and salt.
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