Namib Desert

Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Wikipedia.
Related to Namib Desert: Kalahari Desert
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Namib Desert


a coastal desert located primarily in Namibia. It extends from Moçâmedes in Angola in the north to the mouth of the Olifants River in the south. In the east it is bounded by the slopes of the Great Escarpment.

The Namib Desert is about 2,100 km long, and its width ranges from 50 to 130 km. Its surface is a plain rising gradually toward the interior, where it reaches elevations of 1,000–1,200 m. The northern part, down to Cape Cross is gravelly, and the central part, as far as Lüderitz Bay is sandy, with dunes ranging from 30 to 40 m. The southern part consists of socle plains of a Precambrian crystalline foundation with longitudinal tectonic troughs. The climate is that of a coastal desert, with unusually low temperatures for these latitudes. The average temperature of the warmest month is 17°-19°C, and that of the coldest month, 12°-13°C. The annual precipitation is negligible, ranging from 10–25 mm in the central part to 50–100 mm in the north and south, yet the humidity is very high and there are frequent fogs.

The desert is crossed by the dry beds of temporary watercourses and the Cunene and Orange rivers. In places where the groundwater is relatively close to the surface, xerophytic and succulent plants are encountered, including acacia, spurge, and aloe. In the north grows the ligneous Welwitschia mirabilis, rarely found elsewhere (it is protected by law). Placer diamond deposits are worked in the deserts, and deposits of uranium ore have been discovered.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Along the southern part of the Namib Desert, we swung by the "ghost town" of Kolmanskop, where diamonds were first discovered in Namibia.
Dernburg's decrees infuriated many European aspirants in Southwest Africa, including thousands of new emigrants to the Namib desert hoping to make a fortune.
We were in no way the first to shoot there: The Namib Desert was also the setting for "Mad Max." And "Prince of Persia" had been there.
Namibia, through the National Heritage Council, is busy working on another four sites, including Brandberg, the south of the Namib Desert, the Welwitschia plant and the Fish River Canyon, to be declared as world heritage monuments or sites.
The photographer's daughter, Julianne, pauses to enjoy the austere beauty of the Namib desert during a family hike to the summit of "Big Mama" dune in Sossusvlei.
Just before dawn, a lone darkling Beetle (Stenocara gracilipes) emerges from his burrow and scurries up the side of a towering sand dune in one of the most arid habitats on Earth, the Namib Desert along Africa's southwest Skeleton Coast.
Dr Argy, from Barkisland, crossed the line first in the ultra-race in the Namib Desert - which some experts believe to be the world's oldest desert - in southern Africa.
It is the Atlantic Ocean lapping at the sands of the Namib Desert and the snowy peaks of the Drakensberg giving way to the scorching, red sand of the Kalahari.
NBD Nano aims to mimic - as biomimicry - the way Namib Desert beetles survive in an African desert to create a self-filling water bottle capable of storing up to three litres every hour.
Its Western border hugs the South Atlantic Ocean, where the briny waves wash right up onto the barren sand dunes of the Namib Desert. Along the eastern border and into neighboring Botswana, the Kalahari semi-desert is home to dry scrub bushes clinging to red sand.
Namibia covers nearly 830,000km2, mainly of the Namib desert, and while Namibia is one of Africa's biggest countries, it is home to just over 2m people, an astonishing ratio of one person to virtually every 0.5km2.