Thursday, 31 January 2008

Beirut—eternal city

Beirut Metropolitan Area photographed by an Expedition 16 crewmember on the International Space Station.

Nasa's geo-facts:
Beirut is located along the southeastern shoreline of the Mediterranean Sea.

The metropolitan area is built on a small peninsula composed mainly of sedimentary rock deposited over the past 100 million years or so. The growth of the city eastwards is bounded by foothills of the more mountainous interior of Lebanon (sparsely settled greenish brown region visible at upper right).

While this sedimentary platform is stable, Lebanon is located along a major transform fault zone, or region where the African and Arabian tectonic plates are moving laterally in relation to (and against) each other. This active tectonism creates an earthquake hazard for the country.

The Roum Fault, one of the fault strands that is part of the transform boundary, is located directly to the south of the Beirut metropolitan area. Other distinctive features visible in this image include the Rafic Hariri Airport at lower right, the city sports arena at center, and several areas of green and open space (such a large golf course at center).

Visible in the image are several plumes of sediment along the coastline—the most striking of which are located near the airport. The general lack of vegetation in the airport may promote higher degrees of soil transport by surface water runoff or wind.

My note:
Just north (NW and NE) of the airport are the poor suburbs that where heavily bombed in the summer of 2006. The density of the housing there show the massive disparities of wealth and poverty.

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