Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Waw an Namus

Often said to be the eighth wonder of the world and almost situated at the centre of the Sahara Desert in Libya, lies a cauldron like volcano known as Waw an Namus. The area is often described as one of the most remote places on earth, and yet is quite a popular attraction amongst tourists. 

Waw an Namus is approximately 4 km wide with a 100 metre deep caldera and appears in Google Earth as a dark eye in the middle of the great sand sea, as there is a large deposit of black ash approximately 10-20km wide. The name Waw an Namus means Oasis of mosquitoes and if you are lucky enough to visit this remote beautiful landscape the name would be well suited. The surrounding small lakes are infested with mosquitoes, to an extent that they form a haze above the lakes.Inside the cauldron, known as the caldera, at its base are three small salty lakes, where one is quite warm.

No lava flows from this crater at the moment, but there are small rocks ejected from the central cone, some of which are feldspatic basalts, dunite, and green olivine, which suggests that the magma that formed in the volcano rose fast from deep in the mantle (1).
This Dark Eye in the middle of the desert is easily viewed from space and is a hub for tourists, whom camp at the top of the volcano away from the mosquitoes at the surrounding lakes or in a nearby camping ground.
Waw an Namus stands 547 metres high and is located south east of Sabha, in the southern Fezzan region of Libya.

Further Reading
Photograph Courtesy of National Geographic Espana: 

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