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An Icy Superhighway From Namibia to Brazil

Namibia is famed for its deserts, including the world’s oldest, a vast expanse of undulating, scorched sand dunes occasionally visited by an ethereal fog. But around 300 million years ago, Namibia was frozen and located near the South Pole, smooshed against what is now South America within the emerging Pangea supercontinent. There, it was a superhighway for fast-moving ice, as glacial fragments slipped away from a colossal ice cap in southern Africa, and carved signatures in the underlying rock as they sped into what is now Brazil. The two countries today are separated by roughly 3,500 miles of Atlantic Ocean. But a team of researchers reported last month in PLoS One that they had pieced together a picture of this ancient flow of ice between the two landmasses.