The Atlantic Ocean comes ashore kissing the Skeleton Coast of Namibia on August 11, 2015. The Skeleton Coast is located in northern Namibia and has long been a graveyard for unwary ships and their crews, hence its forbidding name. Early Portuguese sailors called it As Areias do Inferno (The Sands of Hell), as once a ship washed ashore, the fate of the crew was sealed.
A dune is a hill of sand built by either wind or water flow. Dunes occur in different shapes and sizes, formed by interaction with the flow of air or water. , Namib Desert August 14, 2015.
Desert elephants cross the Namib Desert on August 14, 2015. Desert-adapted elephants are found predominantly in the Kaokoland and Damaraland regions of north-west Namibia. They have adapted to their dry, semi-desert environment by having a smaller body mass with proportionally longer legs and seemingly larger feet than other elephants. Their physical attributes allow them to cross miles of sand dunes to reach water. They survive by eating moisture-laden vegetation growing in ephemeral riverbeds and with their ability to go several days without drinking water.
Most kinds of dunes are longer on the windward side where the sand is pushed up the dune and have a shorter "slip face" in the lee of the wind. Namib Desert August 14, 2015.
A carpet of lichens cover the the Namib Desert dunes north of Swakopmund on August 17, 2015. Currently, Namibia has 120 lichens species which are found in the Namib Desert. They grow in great diversity on west facing slopes and surfaces where they are able to draw moisture from the sea fogs.
A number of unusual species of animals that are highly adaptive and can live on little water are found in this desert to include oryxes, springboks, ostriches, and in some areas even desert elephants. Namib Desert August 17, 2015.
Similar to the shape of muscles in the body, unique shapes and patterns form as the winds whip to transform, shape and move these majestic Namib sand dunes over the last couple of million of years. August 17, 2015.
It is estimated that the barchan dunes travel approximately 50 metres per year. Namib Desert August 11, 2015.
Resembling tree branches, dried up water runoff has left its scar on the Namib Desert in Namibia Africa on August 17, 2015. The desert gets less than .39 inches of rain annually. The dry climate of the Namib reflects the almost complete lack of bodies of water on the surface. Most rivers flow underground and are dry for most of the year,
There are three main dune types in the Namib Desert. About 75 % of the dunes are linear dune complexes, while about 14 % are barchans and 9% star dunes. Namib Desert August 17, 2015.
Millions of years of wear and tear are etched through the rocky terrain of the Namib Desert on August 17, 2015.
Star dunes are produced by high variable wind directions in which a series of slip faces radiate about a central point, producing a rough star shape. The average star dune is 1/2 to 1 mile around and 500 to 800 feet tall. Namib Desert August 17, 2015.
Unknown for centuries as to what causes these mysterious circles in the Namib Desert, it is now believed they are created by termites and are know as "fairy circles" on August 14, 2015.
The valley or trough between dunes is called a slack. A "dune field" is an area covered by extensive sand dunes. Namib Desert August 17, 2015.
The vivid pink-to-orange color in some of the dunes is 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. Namib Desert August 17, 2015.
The crests of the dunes are aligned in a marked northwest-southeast orientation. The dunes act as obstacles, causing the winds to be deflected significantly to the right, in effect reorienting the southerly wind to become a southwesterly wind. Namib Desert August 17, 2015.
One of the small run offs from the Kunene river cuts through the Namib Desert landscape before flowing into a delta and spilling into the Atlantic Ocean on August 11, 2015.
A Gemsbok or South African Oryx grazes on a sand dune on the outskirts of Sossusvlei, Namibia on August 17, 2014. Gemsbok are mainly desert-dwelling animals and do not depend on drinking water to supply their physiological needs. Sossusvlei 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
Some coastal areas have one or more sets of dunes running parallel to the shoreline directly inland from the beach. In most cases, the dunes are important in protecting the land against potential ravages by storm waves from the sea. Namib Desert August 17, 2015.