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Lake Sarez, deep in the Pamir mountains of Tajikistan, was created 90 years ago when a strong earthquake triggered a massive landslide that, in turn, became a huge dam along the Murghob River, now called the Usoi Dam. The resulting lake is perched above surrounding drainages at an elevation greater than 3000 meters. The lake is 61 kilometers long and as deep as 500 meters, and holds an estimated 17 cubic kilometers of water. The area experiences considerable seismic activity, and scientists fear that part of the right bank may slump into the lake, creating a huge wave that will top over and possibly breach the natural dam. Such a wave would create a catastrophic flood downstream along the Bartang, Panj and Amu Darya Rivers, perhaps reaching all the way to the Aral Sea.
Digital photograph numbers ISS002-E-7771 and ISS002-E-7479 were taken in the spring of 2001 from Space Station Alpha and are provided by the Earth Sciences and Image Analysis Laboratory at Johnson Space Center. Additional images taken by astronauts and cosmonauts can be viewed at the NASA-JSC
Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth.
Published January 6, 2002