Wednesday 22 August 2012

The Bodélé Depression

The Amazon rainforest with all its plant and animal life, and all its astounding biodiversity could not exist as we know it without a patch of African desert. The soil the rainforest is producing isn't very nutrient rich. All the minerals and nutrients that fertilize the rainforest have to come from someplace else.

Scientists have known for a while that this natural fertilizer is crossing the Atlantic in the form of dust storms, but science writer Colin Schultz ran across a 2006 paper in the journal Environmental Research Letters that not only produces evidence for a much larger trans-oceanic transfer of dust than was previously assumed... it also pinpoints the exact (and astoundingly small) location where all the fertilizer in the Amazon is coming from.

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