Most MYSTERIOUS Discoveries In The Desert

By : Talltanic - 3 months ago
Desert covers 1/3rd of the Earth, and thanks to climate change, improving technologies and the ability to reach places we previously never thought possible, we are now finding some very interesting things in the desert. It ranges from natural phenomena, to ancient cities and everything in between! Get your hiking boots on, grab your sunscreen and a bottle of water, and let’s go exploring.

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9 - Give me a hand…
In Chili’s Atacama Desert, you’ll come across a giant stone hand that looks like it’s reaching out for help. It’s called La Mano del Desierto—"the Hand of the Desert,” and was designed by Santiago sculptor Mario Mario Irarrázabal in 1992. The sculpture is often the victim of vandalism, which kind of ties in with the meaning of the hand – human vulnerability.

8 - Time to read…
The last thing you’d expect to find in the Sahara Desert is an ancient library, but yet, there it is! Located at the end of a dusty road in Mauritania is a near abandoned town that is slowly getting swallowed up by sand. The little town is called Chinguetti, and it used to be a medieval metropolis housing more than 20,000 people. It was also a meeting place for pilgrims making their way to Mecca. The town was filled with scholars of law, religion, science, medicine, mathematics, and even astronomy and they had many libraries in their city. Today, there are still some of those libraries in amazing condition, holding up to 6,000 books, with many dating back to the 9th century! The experts believe that within 30-years, the entire city will be lost to the sand and the elements.


7 - Sands of time…
There’s an extremely rare mineral which can only be found in the sands of Egypt. It’s known as Libyan glass. The origin of the glass is a little uncertain, but some believe that 28 million years ago, a ginormous meteorite fell into the desert and the hot temperature melted the surrounding sand, which the wind then scattered all across the desert. There was a pendant found in the tomb of Tutankhamun that was made from this beautiful glass. Many believe the glass to hold a very powerful, spiritual energy.

6 - Nature showing off…
We once again find ourselves in the Atacama Desert in Chili, and it’s truly a remarkable place. For the greater part of the year, it’s stark and barren and receives around 4mm of rain every year. You’d think that not much would grow there, but from time to time the desert is covered with the most beautiful flowers and it’s called desierto florido, or the desert in bloom. This only happens every 5-7-years and has something to do with El Nino. The weather is said to warm the coastal waters, and that brings a few showers on to the desert plains and from there million and millions of colorful flowers start to bloom!

5 - A place in the sun…
Yardangs… a truly bizarre name to match a truly bizarre desert protrusion. Yardangs are vertical lumps of bedrock or compact sand that has been shaped by the wind. They usually appear in groups known as “fleets.”

4 - All hot and bothered…
In the desert, it’s possible you might come across Desert varnish. It looks like a thick tar that has formed on the rock face, and it’s comprised of clay and iron and manganese oxides and is roughly a micrometer thick. It comes in shades of orange, yellow and black. So, what causes this desert varnish? It’s thought to be a combination of water, clay, microbes and minerals interacting over long periods of time. However, not everyone is in agreement with that theory. The early Native Americans would cover large rock walls with desert varnish and use it as a canvas for their artwork.

3 - It’s alive…
Living stones are actually plants that live in the desert, which, as the name suggests, look like stones but they’re actually alive. Their scientific name is lithops or you can call them living pebbles, and they’re usually found in southern Africa. They avoid being eaten by blending in with the rocks around them. Some are so authentic looking that it comes as a surprise when you see it flowering!

2 - As dry as dust…
This mysterious phenomenon is called desert pavement and it looks like a beautiful paved pathway you’d find in someone’s home, and not something you’d find in the deserts! They take thousands of years to form, and it’s the wind that’s responsible for these beautiful stone pavements. These natural mosaic artworks are made by a process known as deflation. The wind blows layers of sand away, “filtering” the rocks down to make this unique surface.


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