The city of Qostanay on the Tobol River is the dark patch located in the center of this early spring view. The surrounding snow-covered landscape is crosscut by typical patterns of human development. Extending out from the city in various directions are linear roadways. Surrounding the city are numerous rectangular collective farms, each of which is surrounded by dense rows of trees that serve as windbreaks. The rows are easily discerned by the high piles of snow that have been blown against them, and which give this scene a three-dimensional aspect. The windbreaks were planted shortly after the introduction of collective farms to northern Kazakstan in the 1950s, when wind erosion of soil became a problem. This method of thwarting soil loss is simple but highly effective.
April–May 1994, image STS-59-207-7.