What Is The Largest Desert In Southern Africa

What Is The Largest Desert In Southern Africa – Although every effort has been made to follow the rules of citation style, there may be some inconsistencies. Consult the appropriate style manual or other sources if you have questions.

George Bertrand Silberbauer Senior Lecturer in Anthropology and Sociology, Monash University, Clayton, Australia. Author of Hunter and Habitat in the Central Kalahari Desert, etc.

What Is The Largest Desert In Southern Africa

What Is The Largest Desert In Southern Africa

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Largest Deserts In The World

Kalahari Desert, a large basin-like plain in the interior of the South African Plateau. It covers almost all of Botswana, the eastern third of Namibia and the northernmost part of the Northern Cape Province of South Africa. In the southwest, it merges with the Namib, the Namibian coastal desert. The longest north-south section of the Kalahari is about 1,000 miles (1,600 km), and the greatest east-west distance is about 600 miles; its area is estimated at about 360,000 square kilometers (930,000 sq mi).

The Kalahari Desert is a distinctive, gently rolling sandy plain that is everywhere 3,000 feet (900 meters) or more above sea level. The base is exposed only in low but vertical mountains, called copia, which rarely but noticeably rise above the general surface. Apart from forests, three surfaces characterize almost all of the Kalahari;

The sand sheets appear to have formed during the Pleistocene epoch (about 2,588,000 to 11,700 years ago) and have been fixed in place ever since. In some areas they appear to be of fluvial origin, the result of leaf flooding during much heavier rainfall, but the majority were formed by wind. The leaves occupy the eastern part of the Kalahari. Its surface elevation varies slightly, and relief is measured in tens of feet per mile. The depth of the sand usually exceeds 200 meters. In many areas, the sand is red, the result of a thin layer of iron oxide covering the sand grains.

The entire western Kalahari desert is characterized by long rows of sand dunes that point slightly to the north or northwest. The dunes are at least 1 mile long, several hundred meters wide, and 20 to 200 meters high. Each dune is separated from its neighbor by a wide parallel depression, called locally a

Map Of Southern Africa

Vleis or pani are the final features of desert drainage systems, the “dry lakes” at the end of ephemeral streams. Many of these are residual features from the higher rainfall of the previous period. Very little water flows from the Kalahari to the sea. Instead, each stream ended its course in a slightly lower depression, from which there was no exit. Where the current dried up, fine silt particles were suspended by the weak current, which were deposited by soluble calcium minerals and sediment salts by evaporating water. The results are pans, flat surfaces devoid of vegetation that shine white when dry, hardened by the cementing action of dissolved minerals, and sometimes covered by a surface layer of stagnant water. Where the salt content is low, the bread may become covered with fat after rain.

In the southern and central parts of the Kalahari desert, surface water occurs only in small and scattered aquifers, and surface drainage is absent. Almost all the rain that falls disappears immediately into the deep sand. Some are absorbed by layers beneath the rocks; some are drawn to the surface by capillary action and evaporate into the air; and a part, raised by the roots of the trees, are transferred from the surface of the leaves. The small amount that falls to the surface without sand can flow into the pan for short distances, but only immediately after rare rains. Extensive ancient drainage systems have been discovered in parts of the central and southern Kalahari, some on the ground and others through aerial photographs. None of them work today, even in the wettest years.

An extraordinary drainage system prevails in the northern part of the Kalahari. In summer, heavy rains fall in the highlands of central Angola, north of the Kalahari. A large amount of runoff feeds a series of streams to the south that join to form the Okavango and Kuando (Kwando) rivers. The Okavango flows southeast and into the northernmost part of the Kalahari, eventually breaking through a series of distributaries and feeding a vast area of ​​wetlands in northern Botswana. After an abnormally wet rainy season in Angola, excess water fills wetlands and overflows, filling Lake Ngami further south and flowing eastward through the Boteti River to Lake Xau and the Makgadikgadi basins. Likewise, the Cuando River flows south of Angola and partly through the northeast extension of the same wetlands. This creates the paradoxical situation of an area with a large surplus of water in a chronically unavailable region.

What Is The Largest Desert In Southern Africa

The soils of the Kalahari Desert are predominantly sand-based, red in color and low in organic matter. Chemically, they are relatively alkaline and very dry. Soils in and around containers tend to be very calcareous or saline and are often toxic to most vegetation. Consult the appropriate style manual or other sources if you have questions.

Deserts In Africa

Ronald Francis Peel, Professor of Geography, University of Bristol, England, 1957–77. Chairman of the Arid Lands Commission of the International Geographical Union. Author of physical geography.

Jeffrey Allman Gritzner Professor of Geography; Director, Montana Public Policy Research Institute, University of Montana, Missoula. West African Sahel. Author of Human Agency and Environmental Change, etc.

Encyclopedia Editors Encyclopedia editors oversee topics about which they have extensive knowledge, either through years of experience working on that content or through advanced degree study. They write new content and approve and edit content from contributors.

The Sahara presents great climate variability within its borders, with two main climate regimes that differ along a north-south axis; The northern latitudes of the desert are subtropical dry and have two rainy seasons, while the southern latitudes are even more arid. tropical. and they only have one rainy season. The southern part of the Sahara ends in the Sahel, a semi-arid buffer zone that separates the desert from the more temperate savanna biomes. A number of other factors also affect the variability of the Sahara climate. topography does this, as do ocean currents, the latter being responsible for the slightly cooler and wetter conditions found on the western sides of the desert. Some scientists believe that the Sahara dried up about two to three million years ago, while others argue that it happened earlier.

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, which translates as “desert” and specifically refers to the yellow-red color that characterizes the expanse of Sahara sand.

Although it boasts extremely low initial performance, the Sahara manages to provide some life. Most organisms that can survive have been able to do so by adapting to dry environments; for example, many grasses found in the Sahara are ephemeral, that is, almost their entire life cycle from germination to dispersal. of seeds – occurs within two to three. After weeks of heavy rains. Animals like the desert snail survive by using hibernation, a dormant period that some animals may enter when faced with extreme environmental stress. Other organisms, although more adapted to Mediterranean or tropical climates than to arid climates, remain in the Sahara mainly in its slightly more hospitable mountains and oases.

Humans lived in the Sahara long before recorded history, sometimes in regions that are now too dry for human habitation. Archaeological discoveries show that once there were ancient Saharan lakes, on the shores of which people lived, hunted and fished. Even after these lakes ceased to exist, people continued to survive in the desert for centuries using alternative methods; nomadic shepherds grazed goats, sheep or camels in every pasture; Sedentary farmers, confined to oases, used their limited water resources to grow crops such as date palms and barley; and professionals (such as blacksmiths) traded goods with their agricultural and pastoral neighbors. Some groups have long traveled and traded on caravan routes for their livelihoods, traveling by camel to oases and population centers across the Sahara. Modern economic development has disrupted many of these traditional livelihoods, however, with many desert dwellers seeking more lucrative opportunities in developed regions and oases.

What Is The Largest Desert In Southern Africa

After World War II, studies showed that the Sahara was rich in oil and mineral resources, which have since served as a major attraction for international investment. Oil, natural gas and coal reserves have been found in North Africa, which have been especially exploited by many countries, such as:

Build A Giant Solar Farm In The Sahara And Power The World? Here’s How That Could Hurt The Climate Instead |

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