Magic Dust: How death feeds life

        The Sahara desert, a waste land? Or the reason the amazon is the life supporting ecosystem that we have all learned to know and love today?

        Well the Sahara is a wasteland with only a couple handfuls of well adapted animals who can live there. That makes it one of the hardest places to sustain life. But it wasn’t always like that. The Sahara was once consumed by a sea and an abundence of life that moved freely through the waters. Then about 7 million years ago the waters and all that lived in it dried up, the shells of microscopic snail like animals fell to the bottom of the sea bed forming what we call the Sahara.

 

       Now what if someone told you that those shells that formed the sand in the Sahara are a major reason why the Amazon rain forest is thriving?  It would be kind of hard to believe them, you would say “No way man no flipping way” well that crazy guy who randomly tells you those kinds of things would be right. The Sahara sands, more importantly what the sand is made of, really does play a huge part in why the Amazon is able to put out so much oxygen and have such thriving life. But how?

         WIND STORMS BABY.  Yup that’s right huge winds carrying the sand made up of shells and carcases push across the desert over the Atlantic Ocean and land right there in you guessed it, the Amazon rain forest. Those windstorms that become dust storms travel 3000 miles, now that’s a lot of push. In fact they are so huge that they are tracked and measured from space.  182 million tons of sand leaves Africa and 27.7million tons of sand lands in the Amazon that’s like 689,290 filled semi trucks leaving the Sahara and 104,906 of those trucks dumping their shell consumed sand all over the amazon.

                The shells that make all of this happen are rich in phosphorus which is important for plant growth which in turn is important for oxygen levels and the ability to support life. It is quite an amazing thing that the reason why the amazon is the way it is or even there at all is because of death. It truly is an amazing example of the cycle of life, and just incredible to think of the connection between everything mother nature is complicated but one bad ass Mother Fucker.