Aerial view of Wau al Namus, (Wau means hole, so Wau al Namus is hole of mosquitos). This massive (and apparently dormant) volcano can be easily be seen in satellite views of Southern Libya, as a large black smear in the wind-scoured sands of the Sahara.  The inner crater is bordered by a chain of small salt lakes which are sumps for the springs of seemingly potable spring waters that feed the craters vegetation. Outside the outer rim of the crater are small black dunes of winblown volcanic ejecta.  The winds here were very strong, at sunrise they were averaging over 60 kph at 300m above the rim of the outer crater, and about 20 kph at ground level.

Libya’s Sahara

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After four years and three attempts at the proper permission, George finally managed to get his aircraft into Fezzan, Southern Libya. Two thousand years ago this was a fertile region of savannas and lakes, that was home to an all-but-forgotten Garamantian civilization. But the climate of the North Africa changed dramatically some 1,500 years ago, and now Fezzan is one of the most barren and inhospitable places in the world. Every spring it is raked by strong winds that blow Libyan sand and dust all the way across Africa and the Atlantic to South America. What’s left behind is an austere landscape of dunes, sandstone pinnacles, and fields of black lava.

 

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