DUNE 45 : Namib SAND SEA : Africa
Having endured arid or semi-arid conditions for roughly 55–80 million years, the Namib Desert may be the oldest desert in the world and contains some of the world's driest regions.
From the Atlantic coast eastward, the Namib gradually ascends in elevation, reaching up to 200 kilometers (120 miles) inland to the foot of the Great Escarpment.
Dune 45 (Lower Left Quadrant : Closest to Road) is a star dune in the Sossusvlei area of the Namib Desert. Its name comes from the fact that it is at the 45th kilometer of the road that connects the Sesriem gate and the Sossusvlei salt pan.
Standing over 170 m (558 ft), it is composed of 5-million-year-old sand that is detritus accumulated by the Orange River from the Kalahari Desert and then blown here.
The name "Sossusvlei" is of mixed origin and roughly means "dead-end marsh". Sossusvlei owes this name to the fact that it is an endorheic drainage basin (i.e. no outflow) for the ephemeral Tsauchab River (Visible : Flowing East to West along top edge of dunes)
This area is characterized by high sand dunes of vivid pink-to-orange color, an indication of a high concentration of iron in the sand and consequent oxidation processes. The oldest dunes are those of a more intense reddish color.
The highest and more stable dunes are partially covered with a relatively rich vegetation, which is mainly watered by a number of underground and ephemeral rivers that seasonally flood the pans, creating marshes that are locally known as vlei; when dry, these pans look almost white in color, due to the high concentration of salt. Another relevant source of water for Sossusvlei is the humidity brought by the daily morning fogs that enter the desert from the Atlantic Ocean.
- Geo-Historical Text : Wikipedia
- Calculations : WolframAlpha Pro
- Satellite Imagery: ESRI ArcGIS
Overlay Source Image: NASA Johnson