Imágenes de satélite revelan gran lago perdido de Egipto

Foto: At perhaps its greatest extent, the Tushka lake would have covered more than 68,000 square kilometers (shown in false color topographical image at left). At other times (right) less water would have flown into the low-lying basin from the Nile (visible on the right in both images), causing the lake to shrink. Red corresponds to an elevation of 400 meters above the basin floor. Credit: T.A. Maxwell et al/Geology 2010

  

Un enorme lago que sufrio altibajos en el corazón de la arena del Sahara egipcio, ha sido encontrado por geologos. Las imágenes tomadas desde el transbordador espacial confirman que fue más amplio que el lago Erie. Se extendía unos cientos de kilómetros al oeste del Nilo, informaron los investigadores en la edición de diciembre de Geología. Desde que el lago apareció por primera vez hace unos 250.000 años, se disparó y termino diluyéndose hace unos 80.000 años.

 

Fuente: The Bilingual News.com, 20 de diciembre de 2010

Saber dónde y cuando tal oasis existió, pudo haber ayudado a los arqueólogos a entender el medio ambiente, mientras que la migración a cabo el Homo sapiens viajo de África por primera vez, dice el jefe del equipo de Ted Maxwell, un geólogo de la Nacional Smithsoniano del Aire y del Espacio en Washington, DC Los seres humanos modernos en África surgieron hace unos 200.000 años.

Desde entonces, los vientos del desierto y arenas erosionadas han enterrado gran parte del paisaje de la región, dice Maxine Kleindienst, un antropólogo de la Universidad de Toronto. Pero la próxima temporada de verano sobre el terreno, el y sus colegas haran la comprobación de litorales antiguos en las elevaciones sugerida en el documento de nuevo.

 

Foto: The Tushka region of Egypt is covered by a huge sand sheet today, but more than a hundred thousand years ago it was home to a lake as big as one of the Great Lakes, scientists say. Credit: T. Maxwell.

Algo similar está sucediendo hoy en una pequeña escala, dice Mohamed Abdelsalam, un geólogo de la Universidad de Missouri de la Ciencia y la Tecnología en Rolla. Al noreste El Nilo se desbordó. Además, apartir de 1998, una serie de cinco pequeños “nuevos lagos del Sahara”nacieron. Pero privados de agua desde el año 2003, ya que estos lagos se han secado casi en su totalidad .

Hoy en día, para el agua, los Egipcios dependen casi exclusivamente del Nilo y sus inundaciones anuales. Los lagos antiguos, dice Maxwell, parecieron surgir de las inundaciones de ese tipo ya en curso, al menos en cierto grado, hace un cuarto de millón de años.

 

...

 

Shuttle images reveal Egypt's lost great lake

 
Desert drainage patterns point to ancient oases in Sahara

 

By Alexandra Witze | Science News, December 18th, 2010; Vol.178 #13 (p. 9)

 

A huge lake once waxed and waned deep in the sandy heart of the Egyptian Sahara, geologists have found.

Radar images taken from the space shuttle confirm that a lake broader than Lake Erie once sprawled a few hundred kilometers west of the Nile, researchers report in the December issue of Geology. Since the lake first appeared around 250,000 years ago, it would have ballooned and shrunk until finally petering out around 80,000 years ago.

Knowing where and when such oases existed could help archaeologists understand the environment Homo sapiens traveled while migrating out of Africa for the first time, says team leader Ted Maxwell, a geologist at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. Modern humans arose in Africa about 200,000 years ago.

“You realize that hey, this place was full of really large lakes when people were wandering into the rest of the world,” he says.

 

Since then, desert winds have eroded and sands have buried much of the region’s landscape, says Maxine Kleindienst, an anthropologist at the University of Toronto. But during next summer’s field season, she and her colleagues will be checking for ancient shorelines at the elevations suggested in the new paper.

Other studies have found evidence of mega-lakes in Chad, Libya and Sudan at various points over the past 250,000 years. The new study targeted Egypt, some 400 kilometers west of the Nile, where in the 1980s researchers reporting finding fish fossils in the desert.

That discovery, says Maxwell, triggered scientists to think about how those fish could have gotten there. In 2000, astronauts on the space shuttle Endeavour used a radar instrument to take high-resolution pictures of the area’s topography. Maxwell and his colleagues recently analyzed those pictures to deduce how water would have drained across northeastern Africa over the past few hundred thousand years, ever since the Nile was born.

In Egypt, west of the Nile Valley in a region known as Tushka, the researchers spotted a low-lying area where water would have pooled after overflowing from the river, carrying fish with it. At its maximum, this ancient lake would have stretched for 350 kilometers, down to the modern-day Sudan border.

At the time, the Tushka area had more rainfall than today and would have been covered by grasslands, says Maxwell. Heavy rain in highlands to the south, from where the Nile flows, would have caused the lake to grow; dry spells shrank it. “This lake was going up and going down in size, doing all kinds of things over multiple thousands of years,” he says.

Something similar is going on today at a smaller scale, says Mohamed Abdelsalam, a geologist at the Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla. Just northeast of where the huge paleolake once lay, the Nile also overflowed, starting in 1998. A series of five small “new lakes of the Sahara” was born. Deprived of water since 2003, these lakes have since almost entirely dried out, says Abdelsalam.

Today, for water, Egyptians rely almost exclusively on the Nile and its annual floods. The ancient lakes, says Maxwell, suggest that such flooding was already under way, at least to some degree, a quarter million years ago.

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Comentario por José Luis Santos Fernández el diciembre 22, 2010 a las 4:49pm

Foto de satélite facilitada por la NASA en 1995 que muestra mediante rayos infrarrojos el antiguo curso del río Nilo a la altura de la 4ª catarata en Sudán.

 

 

Collection:
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory Collection
Title:
Nile River, Sudan
Creator:
NASA/JPL-Caltech
Description:
These are two views of part of the Nile River, near the Fourth Cataract in Sudan. The top image is a photograph taken with color infrared film from Space Shuttle Columbia in November 1995. The radar image at the bottom was acquired by the Spaceborne Imaging Radar C/X-Band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SIR-C/X-SAR) aboard Space Shuttle Endeavour in April 1994. The thick, white band in the top right of the radar image is an ancient channel of the Nile that is now buried under layers of sand. This channel cannot be seen in the photograph and its existence was not known before this radar image was processed. The area to the left in both images shows how the Nile is forced to flow through a chaotic set of fractures that causes the river to break up into smaller channels, suggesting that the Nile has only recently established this course. The radar images have allowed scientists to develop new theories to explain the origin of the "Great Bend" of Nile in Sudan, where the river takes a broad turn to the southwest before resuming its northward course to the Mediterranean Sea. Each image is about 50 kilometers by 19 kilometers (31 miles by 12 miles). North is toward the upper right. The images are centered at 19.0 degrees North latitude, 32.6 degrees East longitude. The radar image is produced with the following color assignments: Red is C-band horizontally transmitted and vertically received; Green is L-band horizontally transmitted and vertically received; and Blue is L-band horizontally transmitted and horizontally received. Radar brightness values are inverted for each color channel. SIR-C/X- SAR is a joint mission of the United States, German and Italian space agencies. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory built and manages the SIR-C portion of the mission for NASA's Office of Mission to Planet Earth. #####
Date:
12/6/96
Identifier:
P-47921
Year:
1996
Contributor:
JPL Archives
What:
Space Shuttle Endeavour
What:
Columbia
What:
Spaceborne Imaging Radar
What:
C/X-Band Synthetic Aperture Radar
Where:
Mediterranean Sea
Where:
United States of America

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