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Mons Ater (Gebel as-Soda)

Gebel as-Soda: the "black mountain", a part of the Libyan desert, in Antiquity known as Mons Ater.

Gebel as-Soda
Gebel as-Soda
The Gebel as-Soda or Black Mountain is a platform between the oases of Djofra and Sebha in the Libyan desert. The area is covered with millions of blocks of black basalt; the sand that must once have been there, is blown away, creating a surface of a type that is called "desert pavement". The area is not flat: wadis cut through the landscape and on several places, you can see the conical shapes of ancient volcanos.

Gebel as-Soda
Gebel as-Soda
The Roman author Pliny the Elder mentions that the Romans already called this area the Black Mountain (Mons Ater):

This range of mountains extends in a prolonged chain from east to west: these have received from our people the name of the Black Mountains, either from the appearance which they naturally bear of having been exposed to the action of fire, or else from the fact that they have been scorched by the reflection of the sun's rays.note

The photos above were made along the road from Djofra to Sebha.

This page was created in 2008; last modified on 27 March 2014.