By some accounts, the sand dune we see in our image may be the world’s tallest. But whether it takes the top spot or not, Cerro Blanco – at some 1,176 metres/3,860 feet tall – is certainly in the top two or three. The massive dune rises over the Sechura Desert, a place full of extraordinary landscapes. This coastal desert stretches nearly 2,000 square miles between the Pacific Ocean and the foothills of the Andes Mountains in Peru.
One of the most arid places on Earth, the Sechura Desert is perhaps best known not for what nature has created, but for what humankind has crafted: the Nazca Lines. These geoglyphs are hundreds of geometric patterns and representational figures (including spiders, birds and monkeys), some of them spanning miles. They were carved between 200 BCE and 600 CE by the ancient Nazca people into the desert’s hillsides and flatlands.