Salt Caravan, Lake Assale.
       
     
Camel Caravan, Mauritania.
       
     
Salt Works #2, Teguidda-n-Tessoumt, Niger.
       
     
Sandstone Pinnacles, Karnasai Valley, Chad.
       
     
Barchan Dunes, Paracas National Park, Peru.
       
     
Pacific Coast, Southern Peru.
       
     
Paraglider over Mega Dunes, Dasht-e Lut, Iran.
       
     
Expedition Cars Crossing the Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia.
       
     
Evaporation Ponds, Dead Sea, Israel.
       
     
Sun Bathers, Dead Sea, Israel.
       
     
Beni Isguen, Algeria.
       
     
Adjder Oasis, Algeria.
       
     
Salt Caravan, Lake Assale.
       
     
Salt Caravan, Lake Assale.

Tigrean and Afari men pry slabs of salt out of the dry section of Lake Assale. The salt will be carried by camel and donkey up the East African rift to Tigre province where it will be sold for human and animal consumption.  The young men make an average of 150-200 Ethiopian Birr (16.6 Birr = $1.00) per day in a traditional labor and trade that has been ongoing for centuries. The lake is some 150m. below sea level. Camels depart with 20 slabs of salt each weighing approximately 7kg., for a total load of approx. 300 lbs.
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Camel Caravan, Mauritania.
       
     
Camel Caravan, Mauritania.

A small group of French tourists retrace ancient caravan routes between dying Mauritanian oasis towns.
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Salt Works #2, Teguidda-n-Tessoumt, Niger.
       
     
Salt Works #2, Teguidda-n-Tessoumt, Niger.

Like a mosaic laid in the hard floor of the desert, pools of evaporating salt water are worked over by the people of Teguidda-n-Tessoumt.  Briny water is drawn from shallow wells and mixed with salty soil to produce slurries of different colors, whose hue depends on the color of the mud, algae, as well as the amount of salt that has hardened on the surface.
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Sandstone Pinnacles, Karnasai Valley, Chad.
       
     
Sandstone Pinnacles, Karnasai Valley, Chad.

Pinnacles of sandstone rise through the orange dunes of the Karnasai Valley, a few kilometers from Chad’s border with Libya.  The orange sand is formed by the erosion of Nubian Sandstone, which itself was formed from ancient sand dunes millions of years ago. Thus the sand is being recycled, from dune to rock to sand and back to dune again. Strong Harmattan winds sandblast the base of the sandstone pinnacles, and beautiful wind pits around their bases.  This is one of the most remote parts of the Sahara.  Except for one or two families of goat herders who come here once a year, it is uninhabited and otherworldly.
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Barchan Dunes, Paracas National Park, Peru.
       
     
Barchan Dunes, Paracas National Park, Peru.

Paracas National Park, a sparsely inhabited section of the South Peruvian Coast, is almost totally lifeless above ground and one of the world’s richest fisheries off shore.  Barchan dunes start their march into the desert as the coast bends away from the direction of the Humboldt Current. Barchan Dunes can be construed as the largest life form of the desert, as they fulfill the technical definitions of a life form: by moving, growing, responding to stimulation and propagating.
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Pacific Coast, Southern Peru.
       
     
Pacific Coast, Southern Peru.

Waves of water meet waves of sand in this aerial view of the Pacific Coast of Southern Peru. The beach sand has formed crescent-shaped barchan dunes, which are caused by strong winds always oriented in the same direction.
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Paraglider over Mega Dunes, Dasht-e Lut, Iran.
       
     
Paraglider over Mega Dunes, Dasht-e Lut, Iran.

Mega-dunes of the Dasht-e Lut.; These are the largest and tallest dune fields in Iran, reaching over 300M in height and covering an area approx. 50 X 150 Km. The dunes appear to be the resting place for all the sand and silt excavated by winds that carved the adjacent Dasht-e Lut yardang field.
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Expedition Cars Crossing the Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia.
       
     
Expedition Cars Crossing the Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia.

Eastern margin of Salar de Uyuni (some 30km north of Colchani), which was flooded from heavy rains in March.  Expedition cars trying to cross flooded section which is less than 30cm deep.
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Evaporation Ponds, Dead Sea, Israel.
       
     
Evaporation Ponds, Dead Sea, Israel.

Aerial views of earthen dikes separating salt evaporation ponds along the Israeli shore of the south lake of the Dead Sea, directly adjacent to the Jordanian border.  Salt water here is ten times as salty as sea water.  The flow rate from pond to pond is controlled to precipitate out all of the Sodium Chloride (NaCl, or table salt) from the Dead Sea water which is pumped up to them from the north lake.  The floor of these primary evaporation pans is going up by approx. 20cm/year due to NaCl salts precipitating out of the water.  The crystals of NaCl bond to take on seemingly organic patterns of white amidst the hyper-saline green water of the ponds.  After all of the NaCl is precipitated out, the salt water is pumped up to a second cascade of evaporation ponds to concentrate the potassium chloride (KCl), which is exported as potash, a component of agricultural fertilizer.  The Dead Sea Works produces 10% of the worlds potash, which is 1.4% of Israel's GDP.  There is a similar potash works on the Jordanian side of the border, but it's somewhat smaller than the Dead Sea works in Israel.
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Sun Bathers, Dead Sea, Israel.
       
     
Sun Bathers, Dead Sea, Israel.

Sun bathers and swimmers on a Saturday (Sabbath) morning on the edge of the southern lake of the Dead Sea.
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Beni Isguen, Algeria.
       
     
Beni Isguen, Algeria.

Aerial views of Beni Isguen, the most conservative and exquisitely preserved of the ancient hill towns in Ghardaia, a World Heritage Site.
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Adjder Oasis, Algeria.
       
     
Adjder Oasis, Algeria.

Aerial views of Adjder oasis, some 100 km NW of Timimoun, north of Charouine.  The gardens are surrounded by barriers of palm fronds to stop sand blowing in from the NE, and the water comes from hand dug wells that reach water some 15 meters below ground.  Traditionally the water was raised by hand and beast, but now it is done with electric pumps.  The local farmers told me that the water level is dropping by about one meter/year, and that the village was about 500 years old.
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