Showing posts with label Namibia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Namibia. Show all posts

Monday, 18 September 2017

Hoba Meteorite, Namibia

The Hoba meteorite has this name because it is lies on the farm "Hoba West" not far from Grootfontein, in the Otjozondjupa Region of Namibia. It has been exposed due to its large mass, has never been moved from where it fell. The Hoba meteorite is believed to have fallen more than 80,000 years ago. In 1920 a farmer, Jacobus Hermanus Brits discovered Hoba meteorite, when he encountered object while ploughing one of his fields with an ox when his plow suddenly screeched to a halt. During this chore, he heard a loud metallic scratching sound and the plough came to an abrupt halt. He was curious about what he had run into. The obstruction was excavated, and Brits notified local authorities about the find, it was quickly determined that this was a meteorite. The site was declared a National Monument in 1955, though you couldn't visit it until 1985.

The main mass is assessed at more than 60 tonnes, making it the largest known meteorite "as a single piece. Moreover Hoba meteo is most massive naturally occurring piece of iron known at the Earth's surface. It is inferred that the Earth's atmosphere slowed the object to the point that it fell to the surface at terminal velocity, thereby remaining intact and causing little excavation. Hoba meteorite is a tabloid body of metal, measuring 2.7×2.7×0.9 meters, composed of about 84% iron and 16% nickel and 0.76% cobalt. Due to the presence of a rare radioactive nickel isotope, experts have been able to determine the age of the Hoba meteorite, which is estimated at in-between 190 million and 410 million years.

In 1954 the curator of the American Museum of Natural History in New York tried to purchase the Hoba Meteorite. It was only owing to transportation problems owing to its weight that the meteorite remained in Namibia. Immediately following this matter a group of concerned locals brought the 'near calamity' to light and the following year it was proclaimed a National Monument. Thus, almost 5 % of the total numbers of meteorite pieces that fall on Earth are same in their composition to the Hoba one. They are also huge, but not like this one, at least, not for now.

It is amazing that this meteorite is not surrounded by a crater. The objects of this size should punch through the atmosphere at a very high rate of speed and hit earth with ample force to blast a momentous crater, but no crater is present around the site of the meteorite. This could be recommends that it fell to earth at a lower rate of speed than expected. Therefore few scientists’ believed that the flat shape of the thing may be responsible for its low velocity at impact. The site has now been much improved and a decent chance to get close up. Even though anyone can touch it and stand upon. A small tourist center and is visited by thousands of people each year.

Friday, 10 March 2017

Quiver Tree Forest, Namibia

The Quiver Tree Forest is located about 14 km north-east of the town of Keetmanshoop, on the road to the small village of Ko√ęs, in southern Namibia. Here grows, on a private farm, about 250 specimens of the quiver tree, or aloe dichotoma, which is a tall, branching species of aloe, indigenous to the Northern Cape region of South Africa, and parts of Southern Namibia. This area is popular attraction due to unique shape of aloe dichotoma. The quiver tree is classified as a vulnerable species, because its biggest threat is the global rising temperature, and decreasing the rainfall. However, the trees are fighting back by gradually shifting its distribution in the direction of the cooler regions in higher latitudes and higher altitudes. That in itself is a way of escaping the worst of the devastating heat and reducing the amount of moisture inevitably lost by evaporation from the surface of their leaves. The tree is protected by law in South Africa, and the Quiver Tree Forest is a national monument of Namibia.

The quiver tree is in-fact not a tree, rather a plant of the genus aloe, as evident from its scientific name, and one of the some species of aloe that approaches tree proportions. The tree can grow 7 to 9 meters high. It has a stout stem that may grow to one meter in diameter, and is covered with beautiful golden brown scales with sharp edges. The uncommon crown contains of various forked branches, which gives the species its name “dichotoma”, which means forked. Moreover, at the tip of each branch is a spiral rosette of pointed, thickly-succulent leaves, typical of all aloe plants. Contrasting the scaled trunk, the branches are even and are covered with a thin layer of whitish powder that supports to reflect the sun’s rays. Furthermore, somewhere June and August, which is wintertime in the Southern Hemisphere, bright yellow flowers bloom drawing both birds and human visitors. The "quiver tree" has a long history of beliefs that it will bring good luck to anybody that worships a tree and nurtures it. Like most other aloe species, quiver trees are not hard to grow from seed. They will grow best in regions with a climate close to that of their native deserts  not too cold, and not too wet.

The quiver tree named assigned when native Bushmen used to make quivers from the branches of the tree. Aloe “dichotoma” doesn't have real wood but a soft pulpy tissue that can be hollowed out with no trouble. Thus, one end of the hollow section is closed off with a piece of leather and used by the Bushmen to hold arrows. The natives Bushmen also used big hollowed out trunks to store food and water. Moreover, the fibrous tissue of the trunk has a preservation effect as air passes through, letting the natives to store perishables for longer durations. Apart from their historical habit by humans for arrow-quivers, these trees hold wonderful ecological value. Therefore, many insects, animals and birds are captivated to the plentiful nectar of the flowers. The quiver tree is also a key nesting site for massive numbers of sociable weavers. The bird builds their nests between the branches, which gives the nestlings protection in the high temperatures, as well as from predators. Aloe dichotoma is cultivated in for use in landscaping. The slow growth rate and relative rarity of the plant make it a predominantly expensive specimen.

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Fairy Circles: A Lingering Mystery

The strange and mysterious patches in the grasslands of Namib Desert is called “Fairy Circles” in Southern African have challenged explanation with hypotheses ranging from ants to termites to grass-killing gas that seeps out of the soil. Thus, the bird-eye shows, the Namibian desert looks like it has a bad case of chicken pox, well spread across 1,100 miles of a narrow strip sit a smattering of barren polka dots. However, from several decades, a number of theories, from alien invasion to poisonous gasses have been put forth to explain the phenomenon. In fact “Fairy circles” have been a long mystery to scientists and it is discovered that small fairy circles last for an average of 24 years, whereas larger circles can stick around for up to 75 years. It is not sure, why the circles form in the first place, or why they disappear. The mysterious fairy rings have many theories for what lies behind the patches of bare earth. One of them is dragon’s breath, burn marks and dragons living beneath the ground, UFOs, radioactive soil, termites and competition between the plants for scarce resources of nutrients and water. The Fairy Circles transform the landscape into something more like the surface of moon. 

The Fairy Circles can be 6 to 40 feet in diameter can found in the region’s arid grassland on sandy soils. There is ring vegetation around the edge of the ring is taller than the surrounding grassland. They are one of nature's greatest mysteries, prompting local legends they are created by Gods and making wild theories about visits by UFOs. The vast areas are well covered by the mysterious fairy circles that pock the gray desert of Namibia captivated the imaginations of visitors in this region. But now scientists are getting on a series of projects intended at lastly unravelling what causes these strange circles of bare earth to form in their millions.

AS the scientists had done several theories for the explanation of Fairy Circles, but not conclude on definite reasons yet. Perhaps Termites seems to be the most popular authentic theory. The sand termite species “Psammotermes allocerus” was the most likely suspect for creating the fairy circles. The insect was the only species constantly present across the 1,200 miles of desert which included the circles. The local peoples are also having different thoughts of fungi, spirits and even dragon theories. However, it is difficult to form an opinion about something which is still a mystery, and investigated for years. Another activity of termites building nests beneath the ground causes the release of poisonous gas that causes the plants above to die. The pathogenic fungi may be responsible of patches where highly toxic euphorbia bushes grew. 

Moreover, a latest theory suggested the circles follow patterns of rainfall and may be caused by competition between plants themselves, with circles of stronger more vibrant grasses sucking nutrients and moisture from the deprived soil in the center and rainfall is an imperative predictor of fairy circles. However, there are many competing theories which have generated fervent factions within the scientific community. The fairy circles appear in a surprisingly regular hexagonal pattern, almost like a honeycomb. This seems to disregard the idea that belches of poisonous gas from below ground are killing the plants and the role of social insects. Only self-organization is recognized to cause patterns like this at such a large scale.

The vegetation gap expands as the competition ensues, and the grass-free zone becomes a reservoir for nutrients and water. With the additional resources, larger grass species are then able to take root at the periphery of the gap, and a stable fairy circle develops. Scientists have also previously proposed that fairy circles are an example of a "self-organizing vegetation pattern," which arises from plant interactions. In 2008, researchers developed a mathematical model showing the vegetation patterning of fairy circles could depend on water availability. Mr Dressler, 58, from Marbella, Spain, visits three times to this area between 2010 and 2014. He said: I came across this marvel by chance during one of my very first visits. Indeed it was very exciting to fly over the area for the first time. Source: Charismatic Planet

Monday, 30 March 2015

African “Quadripoint” Only Place on the Earth, Where Four Distinct Territories’ are Touched

There’s only one place on the earth where the corners of four countries come together. However you’ve heard about number of instances where the borders of 2 or 3 nations touched, but the distinct territories are very rare confluence of a 4 nations coming together on one spot only exists in Africa where the corners of Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, and Namibia meet. It may not have been used before 1964 when it was perhaps invented by the Office of the Geographer of the United States Department of State. It is a popular tourist spots where states come together which are usually decked out with monuments and bronze medallions, the African quadripoint sits in the middle of a river that cuts between the countries. 

It has been theorized that the point is not a true quadripoint but instead a pair of tri-points separated by thin strips of real estate. Irrespective of the quibbling, the understandable jurisdictional headache of having four countries so close to one another has resulted in some conflict. Moreover at one point the ferry that carried individuals across the river from Namibia to Botswana became a point of contention, with both countries laying claim to the transport. A little amount of fighting broke out but it was rather subdued for an international incident. 

Though numerous maintain that slight changes in the flow of the Zambezi river and the exact geographical borders have eliminated an actual quadripoint, the countries are all so close that the only difference is academic. If you visit the border at any time you will find hundreds of trucks lined up to cross on the ferry. It can take days and even weeks for some truckers to get between the borders because of the backlog. The best way to experience the Kazungula is to cross on foot, in which case you can skip the queue of trucks and jump on the ferry relatively quickly. Well, Kazungula is in general a lovely place where you can go to relish the scenery and at the very least, contemplate the feeling of being surrounded by four different countries (almost).
                                                     Source: Charismatic Planet

Saturday, 31 January 2015

Epupa Falls Namibia and Angola

The border river between Namibia and Angola, the Kunene, plummets down a 40 metre deep gorge at the Epupa Falls close to the nearby village of Epupa, it is one of Namibia’s five perennial rivers.. The gorgeous Epupa Falls also recognized as Monte Negro Falls in Angola. The fall is beautifully created by the Kunene River on the border of Angola and Namibia in the Kaokoland area of the Kunene Region. Though the river is only .05 kilometer wide and drops a series of waterfalls spread over 1.5 kilometers with the greatest single drop being 37 m. 

The name “Epupa” is a Herero word for “foam” in reference to the foam created by the falling water. The specialized nature of the steep riparian habitat and it is the locus of endemism for a number of fish and other aquatic species. If you want to access the falls, then you need a 4WD vehicle to reach them from Opuwo. Despite of difficulties, the falls is a major tourist attraction in Namibia. The surrounding area of falls is unspoiled with lovely fig trees, baobabs, makalani palms and coloured rock walls framing the falls. 

The journey of Opuwo to the Epupa waterfall is having real worth of two to three hours trip to the falls on four wheel drive. The track is not in good condition and sometimes extremely difficult to accept. The real majestic beauty is enchanting, even you can see Kunene valley. It gives you a feel of discovering a piece of heaven. Therefore Kunene region is very dry the threat of malaria is minimal, and extreme dangerous are the crocodiles in the Kunene River thus swimming in the river is not advisable. Epupa Falls is a prevalent stopover for overland trucks and organized safaris, and awkwardly can get swamped with tourists. The trip to Epupa falls is not recommended from Dec to April due to rain season makes the trip extremely difficult.  

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