- Abstract The effect of biogenic crust on imagery acquired by spaceborne sensors is demonstrated. The crust consists mostly of microphytes such as cyanobacteria. The macrophytes (higher vegetation) on the sand dunes are sparse and have a relatively low spectra! reflectance response. However, since a considerable ponton of the ground is covered by this biogenic crust, (which has a different spectral reflectance from that of the mobile sands), a sharp brightness contrast is created between the two areas. It can be concluded that the well-known contrast between Sinai (Egypt) and the Negev (Israel), that has long drawn the attention of many observers, is not a direct result of vegetation cover but is caused by an almost complete cover of biogenic crust in the Negev, and a lack of this crust in Sinai, due largely to man's activities.