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News: Plato's Atlantis: Fact, Fiction or Prophecy?
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http://www.underwaterarchaeology.com/atlantis-2.htm
 
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THE SAHARA

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Author Topic: THE SAHARA  (Read 3970 times)
Bianca
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« Reply #15 on: May 16, 2009, 11:06:24 pm »











A route that takes in about half the Tassili’s 233 known trees covers territory between Wadis Tamrit, Riey, Tichouinet, InGharouhane, Amazar and Tefatast—a good walk of six days covering 160 kilometers (100 mi). Retired Algerian government forester Said Grim covered much the same ground in 1972 when he conducted the first full Saharan cypress census. Supported by a 15-donkey pack string, he traveled for three months, relying on word-of-mouth reports from Tuareg herders he met along the way to direct him to the next tree. Now living in retirement in Montreal, Grim remembers that trip as his career’s greatest challenge. “We tried to find every last tree,” he says, “and I think we were successful.”

Before that, in 1965, the trees in several wadis were photographed by a French botanical team, and many of these same trees can still be seen today—with thicker crowns, due no doubt to the relatively good rains of recent years. The physical descriptions from back then are bleaker than today’s: They speak of uncovered roots, recumbent trunks and mutilated branches. The words peu fructifié (“not thriving”) stand out. Although Beddiaf has not seen some of them since before the rains returned, he is guardedly optimistic.

“I don’t think we have a problem with drought for the moment,” he says as he surveys a large guelta, or pool of standing water. It is big enough to have been given its own name, InWatika, in memory of a man called Watika, who was buried nearby. A flock of pin-tailed sandgrouse, known here as ganga chata, rests beside the pool. Jerboa and fox tracks crisscross the bank. A curious mula-mula, or white-capped black wheatear, hops from branch to branch in an acacia. Clearly there is still life, and the potential for even more life, in this high desert.

A recent study by Abdoun has shown that young cypress trees can take quick advantage of even extremely brief wet cycles—even winter hoarfrost and summer morning dew—sometimes adding more than one ring per year and adding radial growth at a rate up to 10 times faster than older trees. She also found that, in some cases, trees temporarily stop growing annual rings altogether, which is perhaps a genetic adaptation to periods of severe drought.
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