Earth Snapshot RSS Feed Twitter

Posts tagged Great Escarpment

Vegetation Index of Coastal Mozambique and South Africa

25.5S 32.3E

November 17th, 2011 Category: Vegetation Index

Mozambique and South Africa - November 8th, 2011

This FAPAR image stretches from southern Mozambique (above) to northeastern South Africa (below). The vegetation index throughout the image ranges mostly from low (yellow) to good (green), with a few areas of high (rusty red) activity.

Photosynthetic activity appears higher near the coast, a low-lying area, then becomes lower as one moves westward and up the mountainous escarpment, known as the Great Escarpment, that separates the coast from the high inland plateau.

Great Escarpment and Coastal Zone of South Africa and Mozambique

30.7S 30.2E

November 11th, 2011 Category: Mountains

Mozambique and South Africa - November 8th, 2011

The full version of this image stretches from Mozambique to South Africa, although only the latter is visible in the thumbnail. In the full image, popcorn clouds can be seen over the Mozambican terrain.

South Africa occupies the southern tip of Africa, its coastline stretching more than 2,500 km (1,553 mi) from the desert border with Namibia on the Atlantic (western) coast southwards around the tip of Africa and then north to the border with Mozambique on the Indian Ocean.

The low-lying coastal zone is narrow for much of that distance, soon giving way to a mountainous escarpment (Great Escarpment) that separates the coast from the high inland plateau. Here, the coastal areas appear more green and vegetated than the escarpment.

Eastern Coast of South Africa

28.1S 30.4E

June 11th, 2010 Category: Snapshots

South Africa - June 7th, 2010

South Africa - June 7th, 2010

South Africa is the southernmost country on the African continent. It has an area of 471,359 sq mi (1,220,813 sq km) and a population (2009 est.) of 49,321,000. Its capitals are Pretoria/Tshwane (executive), Cape Town (legislative) and Bloemfontein/Mangaung (judicial).

South Africa has three major zones: the broad interior plateau, the surrounding mountainous Great Escarpment, and a narrow belt of coastal plain. It has a temperate subtropical climate.

Namib Desert and Great Escarpment, Namibia

March 19th, 2009 Category: Snapshots

Namib Desert, Namibia - March 13th, 2009

Namib Desert, Namibia - March 13th, 2009

The barren Namib Desert is identifiable as the flatter area along the coast of Namibia, colored deep red and orange by its sands. Part of South Africa’s shoreline is also visible towards the bottom.

The second-largest desert in Africa, the Namib has an area of around 80 900 km² (31 200 square miles), and covers about 1000 miles (1,600 km) of Atlantic coastline.

While the Atlantic Ocean provides a border to the West, its eastern border is created by the Great Escarpment, which swiftly rises to over 2,000 meters (6,562 ft). Average temperatures and temperature ranges increase as one moves further inland from the cold Atlantic waters, while the lingering coastal fogs slowly diminish.

Although the area is rocky with poorly developed soils, it is nonetheless significantly more productive than the Namib Desert.  As summer winds are forced over the Escarpment, moisture is extracted as precipitation. The water, along with rapidly changing topography, is responsible for the creation of microhabitats which offer a wide range of organisms, many of them endemic.

Vegetation along the Escarpment varies in both form and density, with community structure ranging from dense woodlands to more shrubby areas with scattered trees. A number of Acacia species are found here, as well as grasses and other shrubby vegetation.