Mushrooms, ice cream cones, a tent, and even a spaceship - you will see all this, and more in the White Desert. The surreal shapes of the local snow-white chalk outliers can be interpreted in many ways.
Due to the unique terrain, the White Desert was placed under protection as part of the national park in 2002. The vast space (3.9 thousand km2) is dotted with chalk-white inselbergs of various shapes.
It's hard to believe that 60 million years ago, this area was the bottom of a shallow sea where sediment accumulated over the next 30 million years, creating a thick layer of limestone that reached over 300 meters over time. 30 million years ago, the sea began to recede, revealing a calcareous surface.
Later erosion processes shaped the contemporary relief of this area, which today is dominated by inselbergs made of the most resistant rocks. Many of them have their names. So here we have "monoliths", "mushrooms", "ice cones", "tents" and flat-cut cones called "ice mountains". Ripple marks that look like waves can also be seen in the rocks.
The western part of the desert is called the Old Desert. Next to it there is a road connecting Bahariya oasis with Farafra oasis. A trail through the desert led between the most fanciful rock forms. The first leg of the route is a field of gigantic "mushrooms" with huge hats supported on tall stems. Then the trail leads through the area known as the White House. It is a stone circle that surrounds the entrance to a deep cave.
The New Desert stretches out further, and is accessible only to those who travel by off-road vehicles or camels. The relief is changing and the landscape is dominated by large rock monadnocks. Some people associate them with groups of dancers, some with herds of birds and camels, and others with spaceships.
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