The South African National Space Agency (SANSA) was established in 2010. Following a period of rapid growth and transition the agency has made significant advancements towards addressing its mandate of deriving greater value from space science and technology for the benefit of South African society.


on . Posted in SANSA Earth Observation News

Verneukpan Spirals

Verneukpan is a dry salt pan south of Kenhardt in the province of the Northern Cape. The region contains very little vegetation, primarily very low shrubs and yellow grass amongst a rocky desert like landscape. The pan has in the past been used as grounds for land speed record attempts. In 1929, Sir Malcolm Campbell attempted to break the land speed record in his Napier-Campbell Blue bird and in 1952 Vic Proctor tried to set the world motorcycle record on his Vincent Black Lighting.

This SPOT 6 image captured in 2016 shows hundreds of spiral features which have been etched into the landscape. The origin of these spectacular spirals have caused controversy of late all around the world. Some have speculated that the spirals are remnants of an ancient Nazca like civilization while others believe they are the work of extra-terrestrial visitors. These spirals are actually irrigation/plowing circles which have been created with a contour trencher. The purpose being to break-up hard pans to trap rainfall and improve infiltration, and promote the rejuvenation of resident grasses and the germination, emergence, and establishment of seeded grasses.

Image credits: Map produced at SANSA Earth Observation. SPOT 6 Copyright © 2013. All rights reserved.

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