Darya-Ye Sut
Afghanistan, Earth

The fan-shaped river system in the center of the scene is the Darya-Ye Sut. This river lies on the northern flank of the Hindu Kush mountain range of northern Afghanistan and empties into the Amu Darya, which in turn flows to the Aral Sea. The different drainage patterns in this area are created as water erodes rocks of different hardness and slope.

The Darya-Ye Sut has developed a parallel drainage pattern, with streams flowing in one or two general directions. This pattern formed in erosion-resistant but fractured Neogene to Pleistocene sandstones, conglomerates, and siltstones. Parallel drainage patterns tend to develop on steep slopes or on rocks that have been fractured in one or two particular directions. This drainage pattern bears a resemblance to some channel networks on Mars, such as the Warrego Valles.

Dendritic drainage patterns, like those to the north (right), formed on less-resistant Cretaceous limestones and on shallower slopes. Unlike the rocks to the south, there is no dominant fracture pattern in the rocks in this area.

The 800-kilometer-long Hindu Kush range reaches elevations of 7000 meters or more. The Hindu Kush formed during the collision between the Indian and the Eurasian plates. The collision also formed the Himalayan Mountains, and the Kirthar and Sulaiman Ranges of Pakistan. Some of the numerous faults in this tectonically active area control the locations of rivers in the area.


     36.0 N, 67.3 E
     STS 41G
Image Numbers:
     Large Format Camera
     41G-1563, 41G-1565
Image Resolution
(Full-Sized View):

     81 meters/pixel
Image Width:
     78 kilometers
Vertical Exaggeration:
     3.1 × Normal
Vertical Resolution:
     28 meters
Spacecraft Altitude:
     232 kilometers
Stereo Baseline:
     142 kilometers
Convergence Angle:

©Lunar and Planetary Institute, 2000