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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.

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