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Haruj and Ergs Ubari and Murzuq in Central Libya

26.7N 13.9E

November 22nd, 2010 Category: Deserts, Volcanoes

Libya - November 9th, 2010

The large, circular brown area in the midst of the Libyan Desert, south of the Mediterranean Sea, is the Haruj Volcanic Field. The field stretches over 45000 km2 in the central part of the country.

To the east and southeast of the Haruj are two large ergs, or sand dune seas, separated by a ridge of sandstone. The erg north of the mountains is Erg Ubari (also called Awbari), while the one to the south is Erg Murzuq (also called Murzuk).

Haruj Volcanic Field East of Ergs in Libya

27.1N 17.4E

January 28th, 2011 Category: Deserts, Mountains, Volcanoes

Libya - January 16th, 2011

The Haruj Volcanic field appears as a circular, dark brown area in the upper right quadrant of this image of Libya. Although the field comprises multiple lava flows, one particularly large one can be seen on the western side of the field, spreading towards the town of Al Fuqahā’.

The rest of the image includes brown mountain ridges, tan desert, and orange sandy desert. Two large ergs (seas of sand dunes) can be observed west of the Haruj, separated by a ridge of sandstone. The erg to the north is Erg Ubari (also called Awbari), while the one to the south is Erg Murzuq (also called Murzuk).

Ubari and Murzuq sand seas, Libya – September 9th, 2008

September 9th, 2008 Category: Image of the day

September 8th, 2008 - Ubari and Murzuq sand seas, LibyaLibya

September 8th, 2008 - Ubari and Murzuq sand seas, Libya

This Envisat image shows two huge sand dune seas in the Fezzan region of southwestern Libya, close to the border with Algeria.

Most of the face of the Sahara desert stretching across Northern Africa is bare stone and pebbles rather than sand dunes, but there are exceptions – sprawling seas of multi-storey sand dunes known as ‘ergs’.

The Erg Ubari (also called Awbari) is the reddish sand sea towards the top of the image. A dark outcrop of Nubian sandstone separates the Erg Ubari sand from the Erg Murzuq (also called Murzuk) further south.

A persistent high-pressure zone centred over Libya keeps the heart of the Sahara completely arid for years at a time, but research has discovered evidence of ‘paleolakes’ in this region associated with a wetter and more fertile past.

Sahara, Libya

Dunes detail, Sahara - Libya

Libya today has no permanent rivers or water bodies, but has various vast fossil aquifers. These natural underground basins hold enormous amounts of fresh water.

Two decades ago an ambitious project called Great Man-Made River was begun, aimed at drawing water from the aquifers beneath the Fezzan region shown in the image, via a network of underground pipes for irrigation in the coastal belt. Upon completion the huge network of pipelines will extend to about 3,380 km.

source ESA

Sand Dune Seas and Volcanic Fields, Libya

April 19th, 2009 Category: Snapshots

Libya - April 9th, 2009

Libya - April 9th, 2009

This view of central and southern Libya shows an interesting contrast in landscape, between seas of high sand dunes called “ergs” and volcanic fields and mountain ranges.

Two ergs are visible here in the left portion of the image: the Erg Ubari (also called Awbari) and the Erg Murzuq (also called Murzuk). The Erg Ubari is more reddish in color and is located just above the center. It is separated from the Erg Murzuq by a swath of dark brown Nubian sandstone. Below this outcrop, the Erg Murzuq is partially covered by clouds.

On the right side of the image, at the top, the Haruj volcanic field is visible as a dark brown area, which in fact spreads across 45,000 km2 (17,000 sq mi) of central Libya. It contains about 150 volcanoes, including numerous basaltic scoria cones and about 30 small shield volcanoes, along with craters and lava flows.

South of the Haruj is another dark brown area: the Tibesti Mountains, a group of dormant volcanoes forming a mountain range in the central Sahara desert. The northern slopes extend a short distance into southern Libya, though the majority of the range is in northern Chad. These mountains are the largest and highest range in the Sahara.

Draa Dunes in Southwestern Libya

25.9N 13.9E

August 4th, 2009 Category: Snapshots

Libya - May 30th, 2009

Libya - May 30th, 2009

Seas of fire-colored red, orange and yellow sand dunes occupy the arid terrain of southwestern Libya. Most of the dunes visible here are draa dunes (from the Arabic for “arm”), very large masses of sand separated by flat basins containing little sand.

The sandy area in the bottom right quadrant is part of the Murzuq Desert, a primarily erg desert that is considered part of the Sahara desert complex, although it is separated from the southern Sahara by the Tibesti Mountains and the Tassili n’Ajjer.