image-of-the-week-2016-11-14

Natural Wonders of South Africa 6 – The Drakensberg

Landsat 8 image of the Drakensberg acquired 2016-08-10 with snow cover observable on the Lesotho side (toward the left of the image). Snow cover appears bright pink In the 564 false colour composite (R: Near Infrared, G: Shortwave Infrared 1, B: Red). This spectral combination is particularly useful for distinguishing snow cover from cloud cover.

The towering basalt peaks, buttresses, rock walls and steeples of the Drakensberg, on top of which rests the Lesotho plateau, soars over 3 Km for more than 200 Km. The region experiences a variety of weather – up to four times a day in summer, electric storms may arise and May through August are characterised with heavy snowfalls on its summits. The Maloti-Drakensberg Transfrontier Conservation Area was established to preserve some of the high mountain areas of the range. The Drakensberg area is home to 299 recorded bird species making up "37% of all non-marine avian species in southern Africa.

Image credits:
Produced at SANSA Earth Observation. Landsat imagery courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and U.S. Geological Survey.

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