Today’s Photo of the Day is a sand dune from the Mojave Desert in California. Taken by Luke Destefano, this photo captures the sand as it moves through the air, swept away with the wind. With a picture-perfect blue sky in the background contrasting the vivid orange of the dune, I can only imagine what it would have been like to see this in person. Here’s to hoping Luke had some goggles on at the time. Have you been to the Mojave Desert? Do you have photos from the trip to share with us? If so, upload them, as well as any other travel photos you have, to the Gadling Flickr Pool.
There are many beautiful landscapes to be seen all over the world. Sparkling oceans, lush flora, tall mountains, barren tundra and unique rock formations cover the Earth, giving contrast to its many destinations. One of the most interesting types of scenery to take in, however, is the desert.
While many automatically think of sandy, infertile, colorless areas of land, there are actually many vibrant and unique desert landscapes to be visited. Vast expanses of salt plains in Bolivia, curvaceous sand dunes in Jordan, enormous rock pinnacles in Australia and unworldly vegetation in Yemen make up some of the planet’s must-see deserts. For a more visual experience, check out the gallery below.
[images via Big Stock]
The drive through the Syrian desert to the ancient city of Palmyra makes you wonder how anyone lived out here 2000 years ago. For hours you speed east from Damascus along a dusty desert road, the only sights being a few dull concrete buildings, Bedouin with their herds and a thick black telephone line snaking along the ground next to the highway.
Once you get to Palmyra, you find a lush little oasis with splendid ruins nearby. It was here that a thriving civilization acted as the center of trade from east to west. But how did this city, which some scholars estimate had a population of 100,000, support itself? The oasis is nowhere near big enough, and the rocky, barren desert doesn’t look capable of supporting more than a few skinny goats.
Now a team of Syrian and Norwegian archaeologists has found the answer. With a combination of satellite imagery and boots on the ground, they’ve explored the region around the ancient city and discovered several ancient villages to the north. Through the clever use of dams and cisterns, the villagers were able to collect the uncommon but not rare rainfall in the region and put it to best use.
Also, tough grass lies just below the surface, its web of roots ready to capture any rain and immediately burst forth with shoots. The Bedouin would graze their flocks there, fertilizing the fields and trading with the locals.
So through an understanding of nature, an efficient use of resources and cooperating with their neighbors, the Palmyrenes brought forth a thriving civilization in the middle of the desert.
Looks like we could learn something from them.
[Photo courtesy Arian Zwegers]
A relentless sun bakes down upon the desert sands near the Uzbekistan city of Mo’ynaq, sending shimmering waves of heat and swirling dust clouds floating skywards. As the scarce few travelers who have traversed this most barren and isolated of landscapes will tell you, it’s probably the last place on earth you’d expect to find a flotilla of abandoned ships. Except this isn’t a mirage – you’ve reached the Graveyard Ships of Mo’ynaq, a surreal collection of rusting fishing vessels in Uzbekistan, stranded nearly 100 miles from the nearest shoreline.
How on earth did this strange sight come to pass? The story starts back in the 1980s, when Mo’ynaq was a thriving fishing village situated on an inland lake connected to the Aral Sea. As the USSR diverted the water for use in irrigating massive cotton fields, the lake dried up, leaving Mo’ynaq’s boats high and dry (and the villagers with no way to make a living). The strange collection of boats left behind is both a ghostly beautiful scene and a chilling reminder of the damage too-easily wreaked by careless use of water.
Check out a gallery of photos from the graveyard below to take a closer look.
[Photos by Flickr user Martijn.Munneke]