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The African Source Of The Amazon's Fertilizer
Science News Magazine ^ | 11-18-2006 | Sid Perkins

Posted on 11/18/2006 4:22:58 PM PST by blam

The African source of the Amazon's fertilizer

Sid Perkins

In the winter months in the Northern Hemisphere, massive dust storms from the African Sahara waft southwest across the Atlantic to drop tons of vital minerals on the Amazon basin in South America. Now, scientists have pinpointed the source of many of those dust storms and estimated their dust content.

ON THE WAY. Satellite photo shows dust (arrow), bound for the Amazon, blowing away from the Sahara's Bodélé depression. NASA

The Amazonian rainforest depends on Saharan dust for many of its nutrients, including iron and phosphorus (SN: 9/29/01, p. 200: http://www.sciencenews.org/articles/20010929/bob9.asp). "If it weren't for those nutrients, the Amazon would be a wet desert," says Ilan Koren, an atmospheric scientist at the Weizmann Institute in Rehovot, Israel.

Using satellite measurements of dust clouds, Koren and his colleagues estimate that 40 million tons of Saharan dust reaches South America each year. The images indicate that more than half of that dust originates from the Bodélé depression, a now-dry basin on the southern edge of the Sahara that in wetter times held a body of water the size of Lake Erie.

Although the depression is only 0.2 percent of the Sahara's surface area, it's a prodigious dust source, the researchers report in the October–December Environmental Research Letters. Dust storms arise from the area on 40 percent of winter days. On average, the storms loft more than 700,000 tons of dust each day, says Koren.

If you have a comment on this article that you would like considered for publication in Science News, send it to editors@sciencenews.org. Please include your name and location.


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: african; amazon; catastrophism; climate; cloudformation; desertification; dust; fertlizer; godsgravesglyphs; mineraldust; refoliation; sahara; weather

1 posted on 11/18/2006 4:23:01 PM PST by blam
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To: blam

My namesake at work. on a macro project.


2 posted on 11/18/2006 4:36:34 PM PST by the invisib1e hand (* nuke * the * jihad *)
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To: blam

Wow, who'd a thunk it?


3 posted on 11/18/2006 4:53:22 PM PST by ARE SOLE
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To: blam

I once heard an Oklahoman arguing with a Texan over which state was better; after awhile, the Texan got mad and said that Texas dirt could grow anything and Oklahoma dirt couldn't grow 'nothing'; the guy from Oklahoma, never missing a beat, shot back: "No wonder, it was all up here before the dust storms blew it down there!"


4 posted on 11/18/2006 5:34:25 PM PST by Old Professer (The critic writes with rapier pen, dips it twice, and writes again.)
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To: 75thOVI; aimhigh; Alice in Wonderland; AndrewC; aristotleman; Avoiding_Sulla; BenLurkin; Berosus; ..
The Amazonian rainforest depends on Saharan dust for many of its nutrients, including iron and phosphorus.* "If it weren't for those nutrients, the Amazon would be a wet desert," says Ilan Koren, an atmospheric scientist at the Weizmann Institute in Rehovot, Israel.
Note: this topic is from two years ago -- 2006.
 
Catastrophism
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5 posted on 09/19/2008 1:17:49 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/_______Profile hasn't been updated since Friday, May 30, 2008)
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To: blam

So when the Sahara was wet, was the Amazon basin dry?


6 posted on 09/19/2008 1:27:07 PM PDT by stayathomemom ( nowanemptynester)
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To: blam

7 posted on 09/19/2008 1:28:43 PM PDT by Slicksadick (Go out on a limb........Its where the fruit is.)
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To: SunkenCiv

Amazing!

For contrast, what blows out of Washington DC won’t grow ANYTHING worthwhile.


8 posted on 09/19/2008 2:35:31 PM PDT by Rurudyne (Standup Philosopher)
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To: Slicksadick
Nice picture, thanks.

This same dust is iron rich and is believed to be the source of the 'Red Tide' algae bloom in the Gulf Of Mexico each year.

When I lived in Florida (Melbourne), having orange dust on my car was pretty common.

Also, I've read that live virus from Africa do make the oceanic trip to the Americas aboard this dust. So...

9 posted on 09/19/2008 3:09:54 PM PDT by blam
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To: blam
Also, I've read that live virus from Africa do make the oceanic trip to the Americas aboard this dust. So...
10 posted on 09/19/2008 3:13:32 PM PDT by Slicksadick (Go out on a limb........Its where the fruit is.)
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To: SunkenCiv

So what’s a wet desert like? My imagination is failing me. Maybe something like Arctic tundra?


11 posted on 09/19/2008 11:30:10 PM PDT by Fractal Trader
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To: Fractal Trader

Lotta rain, no vegetation because the soil is depleted by the rain. :’) One view is that bromeliads and carniverous plants got to be the way they are because of depleted soils.


12 posted on 09/20/2008 8:17:58 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/_______Profile hasn't been updated since Friday, May 30, 2008)
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To: blam
Evolution in Your Face
by Patrick Huyghe
Omni
Lake Victoria, Africa's largest lake, is home to more than 300 species of cichlids. These fish, which are popular in aquariums, are deep-bodied and have one nostril, rather than the usual two, on each side of the head. Seismic profiles and cores of the lake taken by a team headed by Thomas C. Johnson of the University of Minnesota, reveal that the lake dried up completely about 12,400 years ago. This means that the rate of speciation of cichlid fishes has been extremely rapid: something on average of one new species every 40 years!

13 posted on 03/22/2009 7:26:14 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/____________________ Profile updated Monday, January 12, 2009)
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To: SunkenCiv
"It is likely that many of the species formed during the refilling of the lake. However, they appear to be derived from a diversity of lineages that evolved during previous episodes during which there was a large lake in the basin."
14 posted on 03/22/2009 8:12:20 PM PDT by blam
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To: StayAt HomeMother; Ernest_at_the_Beach; 1ofmanyfree; 21twelve; 24Karet; 2ndDivisionVet; 31R1O; ...

· join list or digest · view topics · view or post blog · bookmark · post a topic ·

 
Gods
Graves
Glyphs
Note: this topic is from 2006.

To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list.
GGG managers are SunkenCiv, StayAt HomeMother, and Ernest_at_the_Beach
 

·Dogpile · Archaeologica · ArchaeoBlog · Archaeology · Biblical Archaeology Society ·
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· The Archaeology Channel · Excerpt, or Link only? · cgk's list of ping lists ·


15 posted on 03/30/2009 7:30:47 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/____________________ Profile updated Monday, January 12, 2009)
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To: blam; SunkenCiv
Also, I've read that live virus from Africa do make the oceanic trip to the Americas aboard this dust. So...Obama's "ancestors" didn't come by boat?

There is talk of making it a crime for American farmers to raise dust.

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2196849/posts

Loess makes some of the best soil. Dust in the wind.... Somewhere I have also seen the birth of a hurricane in East Africa.

16 posted on 03/30/2009 7:54:23 PM PDT by bigheadfred (Negromancer !!! RUN for your lives !!!)
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To: bigheadfred
Might as well link that.

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2196849/posts

17 posted on 03/30/2009 7:56:38 PM PDT by bigheadfred (Negromancer !!! RUN for your lives !!!)
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To: bigheadfred

I’ve read that the topsoil blown in from Russia has created a layer of topsoil in Ukraine that is 150 feet deep.


18 posted on 03/30/2009 9:09:06 PM PDT by blam
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To: blam

Most of the Upper Snake River Valley, where I am at, is blown in soil. We even have sand dunes. Lots of people up there doing stupid things riding around. My brother, who lives close to them, says the ambulances run all summer long.

It is no surprise pathogens can be carried to the Americas from Africa. Wouldn’t it be great (not) if one of the hurricanes brought a different kind of death and destruction to our shores. Maybe it has in the past. Maybe some of the early cultures of the Amazon Basin got wiped out by an African virus. Food for thought.


19 posted on 03/31/2009 5:19:12 AM PDT by bigheadfred (Negromancer !!! RUN for your lives !!!)
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To: bigheadfred
Read this:

Historical Review: Megadrought And Megadeath In 16th Century Mexico (Hemorrhagic Fever)

20 posted on 03/31/2009 7:46:52 AM PDT by blam
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To: blam
When I lived in Florida (Melbourne), having orange dust on my car was pretty common.

I was going to mention that too. I have seen that dust in Florida and was amazed when told it blew in from Africa.

It's an amazing planet.

21 posted on 03/31/2009 7:51:46 AM PDT by Ditto
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To: Ditto
That dust is orange because it is heavy in iron (rust). This iron has been shown to cause the rapid growth of the algae that causes 'Red Tide' that kill fish, etc.

Red Tides From Desert Dust

"What we call "Red Tide" is a fact of life in Florida... an algae bloom that kills fish, makes shellfish toxic to humans, and releases an aerosol that prompts scratchy throats for people near the beaches. Now scientists like John Walsh believe they know what starts the process: Dust from the Sahara Desert in Africa (John Walsh, Ph.D., Distinguished Research Professor, University of South Florida)...

22 posted on 03/31/2009 8:12:19 AM PDT by blam
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To: blam

That is very interesting. Thanks.


23 posted on 03/31/2009 5:03:33 PM PDT by bigheadfred (Negromancer !!! RUN for your lives !!!)
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 GGG managers are SunkenCiv, StayAt HomeMother & Ernest_at_the_Beach
Note: this topic is from 11/18/2006.

Just updating the GGG info, not sending a general distribution.

Blast from the Past. To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list.


24 posted on 03/16/2012 3:19:01 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him)
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