Earth from Space - Image Information

LOCATION Direction Photo #: ISS014-E-14618 Date: Feb. 2007
Geographic Region: VENEZUELA

Maracaibo City and Oil Slick, Venezuela:
This astronaut photograph depicts the narrow (6-kilometer-wide) strait between Lake Maracaibo to the south and the Gulf of Venezuela to the north. This brackish lake in northern Venezuela is the largest in South America. The lake and its small basin sit on top of a vast reservoir of buried oil deposits, first tapped in 1914. Venezuela is now the world's fifth largest oil producer. The narrow strait has been deepened to allow ocean-going vessels access to the lake for oil transport.

Shipping is one of the main sources of pollution in the lake; pollution enters the lake when when ships dump ballast and other waste. An oil slick, likely related to bilge pumping, can be seen as a bright streak northeast of El Triunfo in this image from February 23, 2007. Other sources of pollution to the lake include underwater oil pipeline leakage, untreated municipal and industrial waste from coastal cities, and runoff of chemicals from surrounding farm land. Deepening the narrow channel for shipping has also allowed saltwater intrusion into the lake, negatively affecting lake life.

Since the discovery of oil, cities like Maracaibo have sprung up along the northwestern coastline of the lake. With satellite cities such as San Luis and El Triunfo (visible in this view), greater Maracaibo has a population of about 2.5 million. Just outside the lower margin of the picture, a major bridge spans the narrows pictured here, connecting cities such as Altagracia (top right) to Maracaibo.

    Related image
  1. South-looking image of the entire lake in 1985

Images: All Available Images Low-Resolution 228k
Mission: ISS014  
Roll - Frame: E - 14618
Geographical Name: VENEZUELA  
Features: MARACAIBO  
Center Lat x Lon: 10.7N x 71.6W
Film Exposure:   N=Normal exposure, U=Under exposed, O=Over exposed, F=out of Focus
Percentage of Cloud Cover-CLDP: 10
Camera:: E4
Camera Tilt: 15   LO=Low Oblique, HO=High Oblique, NV=Near Vertical
Camera Focal Length: 400  
Nadir to Photo Center Direction: SW   The direction from the nadir to the center point, N=North, S=South, E=East, W=West
Stereo?:   Y=Yes there is an adjacent picture of the same area, N=No there isn't
Orbit Number: 3285  
Date: 20070223   YYYYMMDD
Time: 170855   GMT HHMMSS
Nadir Lat: 11.3N  
Latitude of suborbital point of spacecraft
Nadir Lon: 71W  
Longitude of suborbital point of spacecraft
Sun Azimuth: 188   Clockwise angle in degrees from north to the sun measured at the nadir point
Space Craft Altitude: 185   nautical miles
Sun Elevation: 69   Angle in degrees between the horizon and the sun, measured at the nadir point
Land Views: BASIN  
Atmosphere Views:  
Man Made Views: POLLUTION  
City Views: MARACAIBO  

Photo is not associated with any sequences

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