Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Waw An-Namus: Libya

Waw An-Namus is an extinct volcano located in the Sahara desert of south-central Libya. It's caldera is 4 km wide and 100 m deep with a central cone surrounded by three small salt lakes. Surrounding the caldera is 20 km of dark-black deposits of ash which causes Waw An-Namus to starkly standout against the light yellow sand of the Sahara.

Image of Waw an Namus taken from the International Space Station
A somewhat common phenomenon in the Sahara is the occurrence of reasonably potable (drinkable) water close to, and at nearly the same elevation as salt lakes. Due to the presence of this scarce source of water, Waw An-Namus was historically an important watering point for caravans travelling through South Libya.

Over the past couple of decades, Waw An-Namus has become a somewhat popular tourist attraction for travelers visiting this part of the Sahara. Unfortunately, this has led to negative impacts on the landscape as well as the rare plant and animal life. Tour guides often drive there vehicles down the caldera so the tourist can picnic by the lakes. A few years ago, some careless visitors caused a fire burning a large area of reeds and date palms.

Libya Herald: Waw An-Namus: A prehistoric volcano and natural heritage attraction

Viralnova: There's Something Very Different About This Crater In The Desert. When You Go Inside... WOW.

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