A Key to our History

The desertification of the Sahara is generally understood is happening within the last 6000 to 8000 years but like all great stories there is much more to it than that. The story really begins with the closing of the Tethes Sea as the tectonic plate carrying Africa moved north. This has happened over the past 41 million years as similarly the plate carrying India moved with it creating the Himalayas.

The Northwood movement of the African tectonic plate Created the Mediterranean Sea and turned the Sahara region into a shallow sea with some desertification and a series of great lakes before the complete desertification that we see today.

It seems plausible that climatic change is affected by axial precession and changes in the Earth's orbit and distance from the sun especially its these ideas are described in some of the ancient Indian writings. Just like a spinning top, the Earth wobbles slightly about its rotational axis. This tilt changes between roughly 22 and 25 degrees about every 41,000 years, while the precession is a near to 26,000-year period.

Mystery Ancient Skeletons in the Sahara

The first of these two documentaries describes how the region began drying out around 8000 BC forcing the the Kiffian culture out and then 2000 years later perhaps in conjunction with the melting of the northern ice sheets, the Saharan Lakes reformed creating the opportunity for the Tenerain Culture to live there. However, by then (3000 BC) Egypt has already had several dynasties so these peoples cannot be the original Egyptians.

2009 documentary by Pioneer Film and TV productions for History

In this documentary video there is a good explanation and display of evidence for some of the geographical changes suggesting that the desertification of Sahara started about 7 million years ago. For the most part our interest in the Sahara has been in studying the evolution of human history and how as the region dried out, the population moved into the Nile Valley.

Climate scientist Gavin Schmidt, of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, explained that around 8,000 years ago, the Earth’s orbit was slightly different to how it is today. The tilt changed from around 24.1 degrees to the present-day 23.5 degrees. In dating, perhaps they mean the axial tilt or "obliquity" which has a period of ca. 41.000 years, so if you half that you get 20.000 years going from desert to jungle and 20.000 going back to desert etc...

Desertification is continuing in various places around the world in part caused by natural climate change but exacerbated by deforestation caused by humans. In understanding our past and indeed our present, we need to understand our involvement, but to be sure we have a future, we must learn all over again how to harmonise with nature and live according to Dharma.

It seems that the Sahara was the first major region to dry out followed by the Sinai Peninsula and the increasing desertification we see today across the Middle East which perhaps has been more exacerbated by human involvement?
On this African story, Korban Dallas has an interesting set of old African maps that were drawn speculatively and conjects based on them that the Sahara turned to dessert by asteroid impacts a few hundred years back.

Mystery Skeletons
How The Sahara Desert Was Made


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