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iss011e09504 | by NASA Johnson
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ISS011-E-09504 (24 June 2005) --- Ekuma River and Etosha Pan, Namibia are featured in this image photographed by an Expedition 11 crewmember on the International Space Station. Etosha Pan, northern Namibia, is a large (120 kilometers or 75 mile long) dry lakebed in the Kalahari Desert. The lake and surrounds are protected today as one of Namibia’s largest wildlife parks. Herds of elephants occupy the dense mopane woodland on the south side of the lake. Mopane trees are common throughout south-central Africa, and host the mopane worm (the larval form of the Mopane Emperor Moth)–an important source of protein for rural communities. According to scientists, about 16,000 years ago, when ice sheets were melting across Northern Hemisphere land masses, a wet climate phase in southern Africa filled Etosha Lake. Today, Etosha Pan is seldom seen with even a thin sheet of water covering the salt pan. Typically, little river water or sediment reaches the dry lake because water seeps into the riverbed along its 250 kilometers (155 miles) course, reducing discharge along the way.


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Taken on July 26, 2013