Monday, November 15, 2010

Ancient African dust caused red soil

American researchers have conducted a mineralogical and chemical analysis to ascertain the origin of "terra rossa" soil in the Mediterranean. The results of the study reveal that mineral dust from the African regions of the Sahara and Sahel, which emit between 600 and 700 tonnes of dust a year, brought about the reddish soil in Mediterranean regions such as Majorca and Sardinia between 12,000 and 25,000 years ago.

The first hint of the relationship between African dust and certain soils in the region of the Mediterranean is their reddish or reddish-brown colour, similar to that of African aerosol filters, caused by their clay content," explained Anna Ávila, co-author of the study and researcher at the Centre for Ecological Research and Forestry Applications at the Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona.


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