Tanezrouft is a western extension of the Hoggar mountains, although it is composed of differing materials: the Tanezrouft contains mostly sandstone deposits, whereas the Hoggar formations are metamorphic rocks.
The Tanezrouft's sandstone hills contain steep canyon walls, some rising to 500 meters elevation. Numerous sand dunes rise from sandy stretches, interspersed with sandstone outcrops. The terrain shows stark evidence of long-ago water erosion (when the Sahara desert's climate was much wetter; present annual rainfall is much less than 8 cm). In the present era the terrain is being shaped by wind erosion, which occurs much faster than in other areas, since there is little or no vegetation to hold the surface in place.
Tanezrouft has been long-shunned by nearby civilizations (it is known as "Land of Thirst"). A trade route may have connected the area with Ghadames and the Hoggar, since perhaps 500 BC. It is now spanned north-south by a trans-Saharan motor route, from Béchar in Algeria to Gao in Mali. Poste Maurice Cortier is a fueling station along the route. Tanezrouft is nearly uninhabited; its few nomadic dwellers are of the Tuareg people. There is a vast water-bearing stratum a few thousand feet below the dry lifeless desert surface.
In the Niger portion of Tanezrouft, populations of the endangered Painted Hunting Dog were previously viable west of the Hoggar Mountains, but now the Painted Hunting Dog is thought to be extinct for the entirety of Niger.
- Morgan and Hugh
- Encyclopædia Britannica
- C. Michael Hogan. 2009. Painted Hunting Dog: Lycaon pictus, GlobalTwitcher.com, ed. N. Stromberg
- William Basil Morgan and John Charles Pugh. 1969. West Africa, Published by Methuen, 788 pages
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