August 22, 2019
Latest News
Science & Technology

Sahara sends dust to Canary Islands for 4.6 million years

Las Palmas, Spain, July 23 (efe).- The world's largest desert, the Sahara, has sent dust waves across the Atlantic ocean to Europe for at least 4.6 million years, particles trapped in fossilised soils have revealed.

The discovery was made after testing soil samples from Fuerteventura and Gran Canaria, two of the oldest islands in the Canary Islands.

The age of the Sahara Desert has become a point of controversy over the last two decades.

Some scientists have argued that around 4,000 or 5,000 years ago it was green with swamps and lakes (Sincell, in "Science", 1999).

Other experts believe that its transformation into a desert started seven million years ago when the Tethys Ocean contracted to become the Mediterranean Sea (Zang, in "Nature", 2014).

A study published this month by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) and the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (ULPGC) in the scientific journal "Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology" led to a new contribution to the debate.

The research focused on following the trail of the “calima”, a specific weather phenomenon on the Canary Islands that occurs every year when the wind drags hundreds of tons of dust from the Sahara Desert towards the Atlantic Ocean.

The Ocean Drilling Program (ODP), an international project that researches ocean basins, reached similar conclusions years ago.

The study revealed that the seabed in two points on the west coast of Africa contained sediments that came from the Sahara and the Sahel for more than 6.5 million years.

Despite the evidence, it is difficult to determine if the sediments were dragged by rivers or the wind.

Researchers Daniel Muhs, of USGS, Joaquín Meco, of the biology department at ULPGC, Alejandro Lomoschitz, of the Institute of Oceanography and Global Change of ULPGC, and the rest of authors who signed the study demonstrated that the Sahara has been a source of dust on the Canary Islands for 4.6 million years and the Sahel for just under four million years.

African sediments were trapped in nine fossil soils (paleosols) on Fuerteventura and Gran Canaria.

Their age was dated due to the presence of lava or marine fauna enclosed: 4.8-2.8 million years (Agua Tres Piedras), 3.09-2.09 million years (Cliffs of El Mármol), 2.3-1.4 million years (Ingenio) and 400.000 years (Punta de Arucas).

The researchers found particles of quartz and mica in the soil, two main components of dust from African limestone that cannot be found on the Canary Islands. EFE


News history
US Space Command to formally begin operations next week

Washington, Aug 20 (efe-epa).- The United States on Aug. 29 will launch its previously announced Space Command, which will initially have just 87 people...

Mammoth fossil 13,000 years old reveals rich paleontology of west Mexico

By Mariana Gonzalez

Butterfly wings could hold key to fighting forgery

By Snezana Stanojevic

India's Chandrayaan-2 enters Lunar orbit successfully

New Delhi, Aug 20 (efe-epa).- Indian spacecraft Chandrayaan-2, an ambitious project that seeks to explore the unchartered south pole of the Moon, entered...

Twitter: China has mounted campaign to delegitimize Hong Kong protests

San Francisco, Aug 19 (efe-epa).- Twitter on Monday said that it had uncovered a coordinated effort by 936 accounts originating in China to delegitimize the...

US gives China's Huawei another 90-day reprieve on sanctions

Washington, Aug 19 (efe-epa).- Chinese tech giant Huawei Technologies on Monday criticized the sanctions imposed by the Donald Trump administration as being...

Arctic’s accelerated ice melt, temperature rises worry experts

By Anxo Lamela and Juanjo Galan

Dinosaurs brought back to life with augmented reality

Logroño, Spain, Aug 11 (efe-epa).- Dinosaur lovers will be able to see the creatures brought back to life thanks to augmented reality.

Seaweed jungles: masses of algae vital to the Patagonian ecosystem

By Patricia Lopez Rosell

World's largest parrot lived in New Zealand 19 million years ago

Sydney, Australia, Aug 7 (efe-epa).- The world's largest parrot, which was nearly 1 meter (3.3 feet) tall and weighed around 7 kilograms (15.4 pounds),...

Scientists convinced there is life on other planets but have not found it

By Raúl Casado

Largest geode cave in Europe opens to visitors

Pulpí, Spain, Aug 4 (efe-epa).- The Pulpí Geode, the largest in Europe and second in the world, has opened to visitors 20 years after being discovered in...

The pink meanie jellyfish returns to South Africa

The pink meanie was discovered during a nightlight jellyfish dive by the Two Oceans Aquarium collections team in the waters around Robben Island and in Cape...

Study of dinosaur footprints shows their movement in soft terrain

By Pilar Mazo

Sahara sends dust to Canary Islands for 4.6 million years

Las Palmas, Spain, July 23 (efe).- The world's largest desert, the Sahara, has sent dust waves across the Atlantic ocean to Europe for at least 4.6 million...

NASA develops MHS spaceship to fly over Mars

By Ivan Mejia

India’s second lunar mission takes off with ‘billion dreams to the Moon’

By Sarwar Kashani and Shubhomoy Chatterjee,

US sees Moon landing anniversary as stimulus for new space race

By Alvaro Blanco

Russian spacecraft takes off for ISS, pays tribute to Apollo 11 Moon landing

Moscow, Jul 20 (efe-epa).-Russia's Soyuz MS-13 spacecraft lifted off on Saturday night from Kazakhstan's Baikonur cosmodrome on a trip to the International...

Chinese space lab Tiangong 2 to fall to Earth in controlled reentry

Beijing, Jul 19 (efe-epa).- Chinese space lab Tiangong 2 is set to return to Earth on Friday through a controlled reentry into the atmosphere after spending...

Happy 40th birthday: Tokyo exhibit evokes Walkman nostalgia

By Nora Olive

India to re-launch Moon mission Chandrayaan-2 next week

New Delhi, Jul 18 (efe-epa).- India’s space agency said Thursday that it would carry out the launch of its unmanned mission to explore the Moon's...

Ecuadorian women scientists slam gender gap in their profession

By Christian A. Sanchez

Another delay in India’s prestigious lunar mission, disappointing but needed

By Sarwar Kashani

I agree Welcome to We use cookies to improve your online experience. Find out more.