Earth Art: The Namib Desert

By Tom Yulsman | May 13, 2013 2:25 am

Korea’s Kompsat-2 satellite captured this image over the sand seas of the Namib Desert on January 7 2012. (Image: KARI/ESA)

You have to wonder after looking at this image whether nature has an imagination. I know it doesn’t, but still…

You’re looking at sand dunes in the Namib desert, as seen from space by Korea’s Kompsat-2 satellite, along with an ephemeral, braided stream called the Tsauchab, which rises in the Kauklift Mountains.

The waterway carries water only when rain falls in the mountains. In the bone dry Namib desert, those flows are pretty few and far in between. But over he course of 2 million years, the river has done quite a bit of handiwork:

Sesriem Canyon, Nambia. (Image: Harald Süpfle)

Tsauchab has carved this 6 kilometer long gash through the sedimentary rock of the region. It’s alled Sesriem canyon, and it’s one of the prime tourist attractions of southern Namibia.


CATEGORIZED UNDER: EarthArt, Remote Sensing, select, Top Posts
  • MFlick

    I think you got the name of the mountain range wrong. They are called the Naukluft Mountains, i think. That’s what we called them when I was living there at least.



ImaGeo is a visual blog focusing on the intersection of imagery, imagination and Earth. It focuses on spectacular visuals related to the science of our planet, with an emphasis (although not an exclusive one) on the unfolding Anthropocene Epoch.

About Tom Yulsman

Tom Yulsman is Director of the Center for Environmental Journalism and a Professor of Journalism at the University of Colorado, Boulder. He also continues to work as a science and environmental journalist with more than 30 years of experience producing content for major publications. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Audubon, Climate Central, Columbia Journalism Review, Discover, Nieman Reports, and many other publications. He has held a variety of editorial positions over the years, including a stint as editor-in-chief of Earth magazine. Yulsman has written one book: Origins: the Quest for Our Cosmic Roots, published by the Institute of Physics in 2003.


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