image-of-the-week-2016-12-05

Natural Wonders of South Africa Series - The Richtersveld

Landsat 8 natural colour composite image showing the Richtersveld. Acquired on 19 September 2016, the 753 natural band combination shows 8,000 square kilometres of coastal plain and sandveld, and to the east of that, the true Richtersveld – 3 000 square kilometres of geologically complex desert mountainland.

Lying inland from the coast between the mouth of the Orange River and Port Nolloth, The Richtersveld is characterised by rugged kloofs and high mountains. Scant rainfall, no permanent water source, tiny stone plants found nowhere else, the unusual halfmens, and spring daisies that defy the barren rock and stone are the hallmarks of this barren beauty. Legend has it that the Richtersveld Halfmens (i.e. desert plant with the mystical name Halfmens or “Half Person”) derives its name from the ancestors of the Bushmen who were driven south by warlike tribes from the north. Some turned to look back across the Orange River and were turned into 'halfmens' (half people), forever gazing northwards.

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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