Part of Bechar Basin, Algeria is featured in this image photographed by an Expedition 15 crewmember on the International Space Station. The Bechar Basin of northwestern Algeria reaches depths of 8,000 meters, and is a producing hydrocarbon region. According to scientists, the basin was formed as Paleozoic (approximately 250-540 million years old) sedimentary layers were folded and faulted during much later collision of the continents of Africa and Europe during the Tertiary Period (approximately 2-65 million years ago). Hydrocarbon reservoirs are located within clastic (formed of variably-sized pieces of pre-existing rock) sedimentary rocks and fossilized coral reefs. Dark brown to tan folded ridges of these Paleozoic sedimentary layers extend across this view from top to bottom. Sand dunes are visible to the north, south, and west of the city of Bechar (gray-blue region to the left of the fold ridges) at center. Wadis (river channels) are dry most of the year in the arid climate of the region. Unconsolidated (loose) sands left in the channels by intermittent streams are transported by surface winds after the water is gone. This leads to the formation of individual dunes and larger dune fields (both bright tan in color) along the wadi courses, which also concentrate sands from other sources; dune fields are visible to the south of Bechar and at lower right. The oblique -- looking at an angle from the International Space Station, versus looking straight down - view of this photo accentuates cliff and dune shadows, providing a sense of the topography of the region.