Wednesday, 12 September 2007

How many seas can you see?

After a couple of rest days in Tabriz, Mark is on the road again and heading south and east through Iran. His GPS tracker produced this map earlier today and I found myself seeing seas - makes a change from spots, I suppose! How many seas can you see? Ok... while you get puzzling on that, I was looking more closely at the route Mark was following today, and noticed that he passed close to this striking feature of relief.....From the air, it is unmistakably volcanic - a huge dome (some 50km across acording to the Google scale) and pock-marked with lots of smaller domes and craters like these..

Cross referencing with an atlas produced a name for the huge volcanic dome and if you want to find out, you'll have to click here ! Iran is commonly studied in schools in the context of earthquakes e.g. the Bam earthquake of 2003 when 25,000 people lost their lives but Iranian volcanoes are rarely mentioned. Yet we should not be surprised that there is much vulcanicity in this country which does, after all, sit on a major plate boundary where the earth's crust is literally buckling under pressure. If you put 'Iran volcanoes' into Google, it is surprising just how much there is to read on the subject. This page , for example, carries this wonderful photo of Mt Damavand, 50km NE of Iran's capital city Tehran. At 18,000 feet, this perfect cone it is the highest point in the Middle East..... and until this evening, I had never heard of it!

Now, to get back to those seas.... the obvious ones are the Black Sea, The Caspian Sea and the Mediterranean Sea. However, there are two others.... the Sea of Azov in the north of the Black Sea and the Aral Sea, east of the Caspian, making 5 in total. Mindyou at the rate the Aral Sea is disappearing (50% in 50 years), it may soon only be four!

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