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Aïr Mountains in Northern Niger

18.2N 7.9E

February 1st, 2012 Category: Deserts, Mountains

Niger - December 29th, 2012

Clouds hang over the Sahara Desert south of the Aïr Mountains in northern Niger. This triangular massif rises to more than 6,000 ft (1 830 m) and extends over 84 000 km². Lying in the midst of desert north of the 17th parallel, the Aïr plateau, with an average altitude between 500 and 900 m, forms an island of Sahel climate.

The massif is a plateau consisting of a Cambrian age erosion surface on Precambrian metamorphic rocks, punctuated by a series of flat-topped, granite intrusion peaks, which include Mont Idoukal-n-Taghès (Niger’s highest point at 2022 m). The massif contains volcanic features including the extinct caldera of Arakao, Cenozoic lava flows of hawaiite to trachyte composition, volcanic cones, tuff rings and one of the largest ring dike systems in the world.

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