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Image Caption: Sossus Vlei, Namibia
The long, parallel, deep red dunes at Sossus Vlei ("vlei" is Dutch for marsh),
central Namibia, are constructed by the prevailing winds moving northward up
the coast. Along the course of the ephemeral stream (white strands at center),
the ground-water table is at or near the land surface, and the damp sand
disrupts or prevents dune formation. Where winds are deflected around bedrock
outliers, smaller and less continuous dunes result. Similar aeolian features
can be seen in images of the floor of Hebes Chasma, Herschel impact basin, and
the north polar region of Mars, taken with the Mars Orbital Camera.