Agricultural fields along the Shebelle River in Ethiopia are featured in this image photographed by an Expedition 27 crew member on the International Space Station. The Shebelle River supports limited agricultural development within the arid to semi-arid Ogaden Plateau region of southeastern Ethiopia. This detailed photograph illustrates a network of irrigation canals and fields located approximately 42 kilometers to the west-northwest of the city of Godey, Ethiopia.
Floodplain sediments and soils are dark brown to gray (center), and contrast with reddish rocks and soils of the adjacent plateau. Water in the Shebelle River, and the irrigation canals, has a bright, mirror-like appearance due to sunglint, or light reflecting off the water surface back towards the observer on the space station. Vegetation in the floodplain (bottom center) and agricultural fields is dark green.
The river water supports a variety of cropsthe most common being sorghum and maizeas well as grazing for livestock (cattle, sheep, goats, and camels). The Shebelle River has its headwaters in the Ethiopian Highlands, and transports water and sediment 1,000 kilometers to the southeast across Ethiopia, continuing an additional 130 kilometers into neighboring Somalia. The Shebelle River does not reach the Indian Ocean during most years, but disappears into the sands near the coast in Somalia. During periods of heavy rainfall and flooding however, the Shebelle can reach the Indian Ocean. ISS027-E-009564 (31 March 2011)
Source: NASA HQ 17 Apr 2011