Minimize Chilubi Island, Zambia

An astronaut aboard the International Space Station took this photograph of the strange rounded shapes along the coastline of Zambia's Chilubi Island on 14 June 2015. The light-toned sand island stands out from the dark waters of Lake Bangweulu.

In the photo we see a few patches of open water between the fingers of the island. The waters are crowded by areas of aquatic vegetation and wetland (reeds, papyrus, and floating grass) in green. Lake Bangweulu, which is only 4 metres (13 feet) deep on average, is rich enough to supply fish for the copper-mining towns to the west.

Chilubi Island has 100 kilometres (60 miles) of coastline, providing prime access to the richest fishing waters in northern Zambia. Those coastlines are smoothed by easterly winds that erode ancient sand dunes. The narrow strips of lighter toned land along the shorelines are areas that have been mostly denuded of vegetation by residents of the densely populated fishing villages.

View the full resolution image.

Credit: NASA Earth Observatory

Chilubi Island

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