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Sunday, August 22, 2010

Namib Desert Where the Fog Rolls In

Namib Desert on the Atlantic Ocean coastline of the African Country Namibia means vast place.

Namib is an old volcanic crater. 

The huge Messum crater was possibly created by a meteor millions of years ago reveals geologic clues linking this area to Brazil prior to the continental drift. The crater was named after Captain W. Messum, an explorer of Southern Africa until around 1849.

There are currently no active land volcanos. The Brukkaros Mountain in the Karas Region, Namib desert is an extinct volcano that was used as a base for astronomic observation by the Smithsonian Institute in the 1930's.

Namib Desert of the African Country Namibia

Namib Desert of the African Country Namibia

Photo by David W. Siu
The Namib Desert is a narrow plain about 40-102 miles or 65-165 km wide and runs the entire length of the 994 mile or 1,600 km Atlantic coastline.

The icy, north flowing Benguela Current and high pressure atmospheric conditions are responsible for the extremely low rainfall and contribute to the regular occurrence of fog along the coast.

The cold Benguela current originates in the Antarctic regions and carries dense cold polar water up the Southern African West coast.
The desert plain takes two forms: extensive sand seas, including the highest dunes in the world 984 feet or 300 meters and stony deserts. Vast stretches of this plain are almost bare with no vegetation, except in the south, where there is a light cover of low succulent shrubs and lichens sustained by fog.

Unlike the Namib, the Kalahari Desert of eastern Namibia is well vegetated, despite its deep sands and absence of surface water. These sands are often in the form of parallel stabilized fossil dunes.

Namib desert in southern Africa.

Africa Namib desert facts.

The Namib is a coastal desert in southern Africa.
Namib is one of the oldest and largest deserts in the world and has been in existence for some 43 million years
The Namib covers an area of 31,274 sq. mi or 81,000 sq. km

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