TONLE SAP - Flow Reversal
Southeast Asia’s Mekong River flows thousands of miles from its source in the highland plateau of Tibet to its outlet into the South China Sea. The river runs through China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam. The giant river is a valuable, and in some countries a pivotal, natural resource, and has supported hundreds of thousands of people through farming and fishing for centuries.
Among the most interesting features of the river is that monsoon-season rainfall swells the river’s volume so greatly that in low-lying Cambodia, one of the Mekong’s southernmost tributaries is forced to reverse course against the rushing floodwaters. Beginning in June, the roughly 100-kilometer-long (62 miles) Tonle Sap River will begin to be inundated by the rising waters of the Mekong, and will slowly backtrack and begin filling the Tonle Sap Lake. Vegetation appears bright green, standing water is dark blue, and clouds are light blue or white. In the bottom scene, the Mekong can be seen flowing in at the top to the right of center, and the Tonle Sap makes a distinct blue splash to the west. By October, much of central Cambodia is underwater.