Dead Vlei, Namibia

Dead Vlei, Namibia

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Credit: BILDAGENTUR-ONLINE/MCPHOTO-HUWILER/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Dead Vlei. Skeleton tree in the Dead Vlei clay pan, Namib-Naukluft Park, Namibia. The clay pan is surrounded by the world's highest sand dunes and was formed when the Tsauchab river flooded, creating temporary shallow pools. The abundance of water allowed camel thorn trees to grow but when drought hit, sand dunes encroached on the pan and blocked the river. The trees died as there was no longer enough water. The remaining skeleton trees are believed to be about 900 years old. They do not decompose because it is so dry.

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