One Kilometer-Tall Sand Dune in Nazca, Peru

September 05, 2013

Cerro-Blanco-July-24-2013 (2)

Photographer: Mario Freitas; Universidade Tecnologica Federal Do Parana, Campus Curitiba
Summary Author: Mario Freitas

The city of Nazca attracts tourists from all over the world hoping to overfly the ancient geoglyphs known as the Nazca Lines. These lines were drawn on the desert floor by pre-Columbian cultures. Founded in the late 16th century, the city of Nazca was recently reconstructed after being completely destroyed in 1996 by a violent earthquake. In the background of the above picture, taken at sunset from Nazca’s Main Square garden, we see the summit of Cerro Blanco, still gleaming in reddish hues from lingering rays of sunlight (alpenglow). Considered as one of the tallest sand dunes in the world, it rises 3,860 ft (1,176 m) from its base. Asymmetry of dune slopes indicates that the prevailing wind direction here is from the southwest – Pacific Ocean. Even though Nazca isn’t far from the Pacific, the climate of this region is exceptionally arid and largely controlled by the cold Humboldt Current, which limits moisture availability. In fact, annual precipitation rarely exceeds 1 in (25 mm). Photo taken on July 24, 2013.

Photo details: Camera Maker: Panasonic; Camera Model: DMC-LX5; Focal Length: 17.1mm (35mm equivalent: 80mm); Aperture: f/3.2; Exposure Time: 0.0080 s (1/125); ISO equiv: 160; Software: ACD Systems Digital Imaging.