The African Continent in the Globe
Namib Desert, Namibia (NASA, 1985). The Namib Desert, for which the country of
Namibia is named, is a classic example of a coastal desert along the
southwestern side of a Southern Hemisphere continent. With a cold ocean current
offshore, practically no natural conditions exist to produce any form of
precipitation. Low, ground-hugging stratus clouds (fog) sometimes develop along
the shoreline. When the fog moves onshore, it can provide the only form of
moisture that parts of the Namib Desert receive for decades. This south-looking
photograph shows two different physiographic provinces: a sand desert
immediately adjacent to the Atlantic Ocean and a more diversified area of rocks
and low hills inland. The sandy desert along the coast (known as the Skeleton
Coast because it is part of the Namibia and Angola coastlines where numerous
shipwrecks occurred during the last few centuries) consists of transverse dunes.
A series of sand dunes parallel to one another was created by the wind blowing
at right angles to the ridges. The windward (western) face has a more gentle
slope, and the leeward (eastern) face tends to be steeper. The vertical distance
between crest and trough can exceed 300 feet (90 meters). The entire region is
so dry that no permanent watercourse flows from the higher elevations in the
east to the Atlantic Ocean in the west.
Transparent physical aspect.
Beach in Bazaruto, Mozambique (©
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