Northeast Somalia: A landscape shaped by wind and water •

Northeast Somalia: A landscape shaped by wind and water

Today’s Image of the Day from NASA Earth Observatory features an astronaut view of the northeast coast of Somalia. This region, which borders the Indian Ocean, has a mix of sandy beaches and rugged cliffs.

“The detailed image reveals a desert landscape etched by wind and water,” said NASA. “Over time, streams have cut canyons into the earth. But streams in this region are ephemeral, making groundwater the main source of fresh water.” 

“The water table is shallow (wells are typically drilled less than 20 meters deep) and meets the surface toward the coast, creating springs.”

“Bidirectional winds sculpted the tan, brown, and reddish sand into transverse sand dunes visible near the stream’s deltas. The orientation of the sand dunes indicates that they were likely formed by summer winds blowing up the coast from the southwest.”

The economy of northeast Somalia is primarily based on fishing, livestock, and trade. The long coastline provides ample opportunities for fishing, which is a significant source of food and income.

The region is home to important port cities like Bosaso, which is a hub for trade and commerce. These ports are vital for both the local and national economy.

The area is rich in cultural heritage, with a history that dates back to ancient times. It is believed to be part of the ancient Land of Punt, known for its trade relations with ancient Egypt.

The climate is typically hot and dry, with irregular rainfall. This environment shapes the lifestyle and agricultural practices of northeast Somalia.

Despite the arid conditions, the region supports a variety of wildlife, including species adapted to desert and semi-desert habitats.

The photograph was captured on August 9, 2023 as the International Space Station orbited over the Horn of Africa.

Image Credit: NASA Earth Observatory 

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