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  Image: Geographic Location Direction Photo #: ISS061-E-98063 Date: Dec. 2019
Geographic Region: SUDAN

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  Eroded Beauty in the Sahara Desert

Taken by astronauts aboard the International Space Station, this detailed photograph shows dark surfaces in the hyper-arid eastern Sahara Desert in Sudan. These surfaces are flat-topped mesas that rise 70-140 meters (230-460 feet) above the surrounding lighter-toned landscape. The mesas are defined by vertical cliffs cut into by numerous small gullies, producing a heavily indented pattern. For scale, the smaller mesa measures 10 kilometers (6 miles) long.

The bed of a dry river winds across the middle of the image. A dotted pattern of trees and clumps of bushes follow the line of the riverbed, indicating that roots are reaching the subsurface water. (Click on the image to see a more detailed view.)

Analysis of the height of the mesas and the rock units exposed in the cliff faces allows geologists to interpret the evolution of the area's landscape. It is possible to conclude that the rock layer forming the two mesas was more extensive in the past, and that it has been stripped away by river and wind erosion to produce the younger, light-toned surface seen today.

Eroded desert landscapes with strongly contrasting darker and lighter-toned surfaces result from both physical and chemical weathering processes and are a common landscape pattern in this part of the Sahara Desert. Geologic maps indicate that the entire area is a single rock type known as the Nubian Sandstone, which is one of the largest fossil water aquifers in the world.

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Images: All Available Images Low-Resolution 409k
Mission: ISS061  
Roll - Frame: E - 98063
Geographical Name: SUDAN  
Center Lat x Lon: 15.8N x 25.4E
Film Exposure:   N=Normal exposure, U=Under exposed, O=Over exposed, F=out of Focus
Percentage of Cloud Cover-CLDP: 10
Camera: N8
Camera Tilt: 19   LO=Low Oblique, HO=High Oblique, NV=Near Vertical
Camera Focal Length: 800  
Nadir to Photo Center Direction: SW   The direction from the nadir to the center point, N=North, S=South, E=East, W=West
Stereo?:   Y=Yes there is an adjacent picture of the same area, N=No there isn't
Orbit Number:  
Date: 20191225   YYYYMMDD
Time: 115710   GMT HHMMSS
Nadir Lat: 16.8N  
Latitude of suborbital point of spacecraft
Nadir Lon: 26.2E  
Longitude of suborbital point of spacecraft
Sun Azimuth: 213   Clockwise angle in degrees from north to the sun measured at the nadir point
Space Craft Altitude: 224   nautical miles
Sun Elevation: 43   Angle in degrees between the horizon and the sun, measured at the nadir point
Land Views:  
Water Views:  
Atmosphere Views:  
Man Made Views:  
City Views:  
Photo is not associated with any sequences

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