Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Black Desert

The Black Desert is about an hour from the White Desert, both near the Bahariya Oasis.  The Bahariya Oasis is a small city of about 25,000 people.  Some of it is pretty arid, but there are trees and in certain areas, these are tree groves and a lush feel of vegetation.  The source of the oasis water is underground hot springs.  We stayed the second night of our stay in this region at the International Hot Springs Hotel.  (I'll tell you about that in another posting).

The Black Desert is completely different from the White Desert.  (By the way, for those of you who already read my White Desert posting but wanted to know more about how that desert was formed.... thanks for keeping me on my toes Mary, I've revised the White Desert entry with more information about how it was formed, which is actually pretty fascinating.)

The Black Desert doesn't have the Alice in Wonderland shapes or the ethereal lighting on ghostly white rock formations, but it is also beautiful in a different way.  Our guide told us that the black dessert is black because long ago there was a volcano in this region that erupted.  The magma from that volcano was then eroded away by wind over thousands of years with the black from that rock dusting the entire area, hence the black covering on the sand hills.  I also read online that there are still crack in the earth in which magma comes through, with these cracks associated with a fault line that runs through the Bahariya Oasis.

The famous "Golden Mummies" were found in the Black Desert (--- this story, with photos, for another day).  Both the Black Desert and the White Desert are protected national parks.  Here are some photos of the Black Desert.

Here is our guide, Esom.
This rock is called basalt.  It's volcanic.  It's all around in the Black Desert.
In the background are olive trees in a row that someone is trying to grow.

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