Es Safa Volcanic Field, Syria As Seen From Orbit

Es Safa Volcanic Field, Syria is featured in this image photographed by an Expedition 24 crew member on the International Space Station. This photograph highlights a part of the striking landscape of the Es Safa Volcanic Field located to the southeast of Damascus, Syria. The basaltic volcanic field is part of the larger Harrat Ash Shamah-the largest volcanic field on the Arabian tectonic plate.

Harrat Ash Shamah parallels the Red Sea and extends from northeastern Israel, through southern Syria and Jordan, and into Saudi Arabia covering an area of over 50,000 square kilometers. According to scientists, the Es Safa Volcanic Field contains numerous vents active during the Holocene Epoch (beginning approximately 12,000 years ago). The most recent recorded activity was a boiling lava lake observed in the area around 1850. The dark lava flow field at center likely represents the latest activity of the Es Safa Volcanic Field, and is emplaced over older, lighter colored flows. The older flow surfaces also have light tan sediment accumulating in shallow depressions, in contrast to the relatively pristine surfaces of the darker, younger flows.

Cinder cones are scattered throughout the Es Safa field, but many cones are aligned along northwest-southeast trends that likely indicate faults through which magma rose to the surface -- two such cinder cone alignments are visible at left. To the southeast (right) a small reservoir is visible that feeds water distribution ditches extending northwards. high res (2.0 M) low res (103 K)

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