African Dust Winds Bring 56% of Brazil Amazon Jungle’s Minerals

A single spot in the Sahara desert is responsible for over half the Amazon basin's annual supply of minerals, researchers say.

In a study published in Environmental Research Letters, scientists show that dust winds arising from the Bodélé depression – northeast of Lake Chad – are the main mineral source fertilizing the Amazon rainforest in Brazil and Latin America.

Using recent advances in satellite instrumentation, researchers produced the first quantitative estimate of the dust emission: 56% of the Amazon's total annual mineral supply.

It was known that West African dust winds played an essential role in the Amazon mineral supply. But the rate of emission from the Bodélé depression has not been measured until now.

According to the study, the soil of the Amazon rainforest is shallow, poor in nutrients and almost without soluble minerals. The health and productivity of the Amazon basin depends on nearly 50 million tons of mineral-containing dust transported annually across the Atlantic ocean from the Sahara.

The Bodélé is known to be the biggest source of dust in the world. This has been attributed to its shape and geography. Wedged in a narrow path between two mountain chains, the depression directs and accelerates surface winds.

Lead researcher Dr. Ilan Koren, of the Weizmann Institute in Israel, said that the research posed more questions than it answered. Key questions remain, such as for how long the area has emitted such a huge amount of dust, and how long it will continue.

"We are now studying how long the Bodélé – and all Sahara regions – have contributed to the Amazon, and what the forest was like before," he said.

SciDev.Net

Tags:

You May Also Like

Brazil Promises to Boost Software Sales by 500%. Some Are Skeptical

Brazil's software sector should rise its exports from US$ 100 million to US$ 500 ...

Brazilian Industry Back at Level Where Global Crisis Started

According to Brazil’s National Confederation of Industries (CNI), Brazilian industry revenues are growing in ...

With US$ 85 Million Brazil’s Petrobras Gives First Step on Ethanol Production

Petrobras, the Brazilian state-controlled oil & gas multinational, is going to start manufacturing ethanol ...

Despite Instability Brazil Wishes to Do Business with Bolivia

Brazilian Minister of Foreign Relations, Celso Amorim, affirmed that the relation between Brazil and ...

F Is for Fine Food in Fortaleza, Brazil

Fresh seafood is the thing to have when visiting Fortaleza, the capital of the ...

Brazilians Are the Aedes Aegypti of Brazil

The dengue fever epidemic currently affecting several Brazilian cities, especially Rio de Janeiro, is ...

Brazilian NGO is embroidering the Pope's bed sheets

Brazilian Hands Weave the Sheets the Pope Will Sleep on in Brazil

In the hands of four embroiderers from Potim, a city with 14,000 inhabitants in ...

Brazilian Economic Activity Goes Down 1.2%

In Brazil, economic activity has dropped in the second quarter this year. According to ...

No Apologies Necessary

Brazil has its problems, but that’s not something that anyone has to wear as ...

Do You Want Your Own Radio in Brazil? Get Yourself a Godfather First

Community radios have existed in Brazil since the 1980s, long before they became regulated ...

WordPress database error: [Table './brazzil3_live/wp_wfHits' is marked as crashed and last (automatic?) repair failed]
SHOW FULL COLUMNS FROM `wp_wfHits`