Earth from Space: East meets West

3 May 2013

Istanbul and the surrounding area in northwestern Turkey are captured in this Envisat image. To the north is the Black Sea, which connects to the Sea of Marmara (centre) via the Bosphorus strait. The Dardanelles strait connects the Marmara to the Aegean Sea (lower left corner).

Turkey is a Eurasian country with the majority of its territory in southwestern Asia and a small portion in the Balkan region of southeastern Europe.

Its largest city, Istanbul, is near the centre of the image at the Bosphorus strait. Istanbul straddles two continents (Europe and Asia), making it a true meeting place of the East and the West.

Turkey’s location makes it vulnerable to earthquakes, with the 1000 km-long North Anatolian fault just 15 km south of Istanbul. It also sits on the relatively small Anatolian plate, which is squeezed between three other major tectonic plates – the African and Arabian plates to the south, and the Eurasian plate to the north. The combination of these plate movements has been the source of multiple earthquakes in the last century.

Because earthquakes can suddenly render current maps out of date, satellite images are useful for updating views of how the landscape has been affected as well as creating reference cartography for emergency operations. In addition, before and after satellite images of the area enable authoritative damage assessment as a basis for planning remedial action.

This image was acquired by Envisat’s MERIS instrument on 9 June 2011.

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