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Luke
2004-Jul-27, 11:34 AM
:wub: :wub: :wub:

I found a really interesting website dedicated to the "Geoformation" or "Terraformation" of the Sahara Desert.

www.TheSahara.net

I would like topic viewers to e-mail them at : contact@thesahara.fsnet.co.uk

There you can send them any ideas that you may have on how to "Geoform" or "Terraform" the Sahara Desert. With obvious consideration that what ever ideas they get they may one day be used to reshape any desert on our planet and not just the "Sahara" desert.

Here below is my idea I sent them in an e-mail that I wrote a few weeks ago :


Dear Sirs,
To speed up the "Geofrmation Process" that your website talks about, and it may sound a little "Star Trekish", I came up with a fast, cheap solution to the enormous task ahead.

That is to say we can lern alot from a nuclear fission meltdown like the one that happened at "Cheynobyl".

What I am talking about is you will need a team of good scientists too work on this idea of mine but it is totally feasable that a "Melt-Down Fission Bomb" is what you guys are after.

The bomb can be placed well below the sand. Say at 2 kilometres below the surface. Then several fission rods in the heart of the bomb are set on purpose to "Meltdown", thus the bomb melts down melting through the remainding Earths crust into the Mantle causing lava to spurt up through the long hole or tunnel it has just created.

Hopefully the end result would be an artificial volcaneo on the desert surface.

The beauty of this is that when the lava sets the cooled rock is very fertile and life will soon take hold. And as a bonus the process happens very quickly.

So imagine a Sahara desert dotted with artificial volcaneoes with cooling lava flowing everywhere.

"Geofrmation" will occur!

The time scale for the whole process is just 100 years approx. for life to take hold on the new rock as what happens with volcanic islands.

:wub: :wub: :wub:

Have a look at their website and contact them with any of your own ideas. Maybe in the future their project may take off the ground. Anyway its all good practice for the "Terrafromation" of Mars, which is the ultimate goal...

:wub: :wub: :wub:

Josh
2004-Jul-27, 12:22 PM
What about the present ecosystem that thrives in the Sahara desert? Why would we want to change it? Mars, as far as we know, has no life that needs it's current ecosystem at least so changing that isn't as much as a problem.

Polarbeast
2004-Jul-27, 08:14 PM
The problem there is the fact that a nuclear fission bomb leaves the area saturated with radiation, hot for millions of years... not conducive to life. Even if detonated below the surface, the matter that would be forced to/through the surface (and it would be forced in an explosive manner, not a flow as with lava) would be tainted.

Tom2Mars
2004-Jul-28, 01:41 AM
Yes Josh!

Yes, of course! Polarbeast.

And Luke...Uhhhh...there's such an innocence to your enthusiasm, I'll forego my usual response to most things nuclear.

However,
The time scale for the whole process is just 100 years approx. for life to take hold on the new rock as what happens with volcanic islands.

I think part of the reason the volcanic islands are lush is that they are islands, surrounded by water, and the water helps the transformation quite a bit.

Keep thinking outside the box though! B)

Sp1ke
2004-Jul-28, 01:14 PM
Could we make a desert if we just added water? Is it as simple as that? Oases are fertile because they have water.

I guess there's a reason why deserts don't have water - even if it rains, the water might just drain away or evaporate or be absorbed deep into the earth. Or if you take water to the desert, that will leave somewhere else with less water so you'd just move the deserts around.

Could we tow icebergs to the Sahara then let them melt into water channels to take the water inland? Not sure whether we could get them there before they melted though.

ASEI
2004-Jul-28, 01:33 PM
Well, I'm not sure how nuking volcanoes into the crust (talk about greenhouse emmissions!) would help Sahara out. But in terms of irrigation/terraformation of the area, I'm all for it. Just the same sort of thing we've been doing since man first settled in towns - taking a crummy piece of land and making it livable/productive.

There's not a lot of water to go around over there though. And any changes we make to it have to be either continuously maintained (like irrigation), or drastic enough that the whole regional climate is altered.

antoniseb
2004-Jul-28, 09:14 PM
I had thought that the Sahara would be a great place to build a large wall around and then drag the ice escaping from Greenland and Antarctica to fill the basin. This might save Polynesia, the Nethlands, and other low-lying nations.

Tom2Mars
2004-Jul-29, 02:29 AM
From ASEI-
...taking a crummy piece of land and making it livable/productive.

There's not a lot of water to go around over there though. And any changes we make to it have to be either continuously maintained (like irrigation)

I remember seeing a news story awhile back on some experiments in African villages where they started trees, and used wastewater for irrigating them, and all agreed not to touch them for firewood. It took a few years, but the trees grew, and provided more shade, and the things they did in the villages helped the water absorb into the soil better, instead of running off.

When I started coming out to my property years ago, there was a cleared out area, and some shrubby trees, shorter than I was. I had to make some meals on site when I was clearing stuff and putting up some small structures. I picked a spot next to a couple of tiny trees for a small table to wash cups and a couple of things, and rinse off some tools. Now, the center tree is almost 40 feet tall. Other trees in the center clearing aren't so great, but the ones that got any extra water at all, no matter how small an amount, are 20 feet tall. On the road coming in, there are other properties, and in the parts that get no care or any extra water, the trees are about the same as when I first saw them.

Small things can make a big difference. It would be interesting to see what happens to the Sahara desert. Did you know that it used to be the Sahara forest? I think humans had a hand in that change a long time ago. Humans can make it go the other way, if they worked at it. B)

GOURDHEAD
2004-Jul-29, 06:48 PM
Did you know that it used to be the Sahara forest? I think humans had a hand in that change a long time ago. Humans can make it go the other way, if they worked at it

My guess is that when Europe is buried in ice, the Sahara blooms and its animals drink, bees make honey, and cows give lotsa milk. I'm not recommending an ice age for Europe. The oceans of earth have a large amount of water that could be carefully channeled into the Sahara or any other desert that is sufficiently warm where it will evaporate and increase the local rainfall. With a little help from genetic engineering salt loving plants can be designed to produce food and fibre for further development. We may want to preserve some portion of each desert as a desert for sentimental reasons.

A side benefit may be bio-mining of rare minerals present in seawater by either the designer plants or other technology, carbon dioxide consumption and oxygen liberation. There may be radiation protection benefits from sodium chloride that we have thus far overlooked.

Another approach with promise is that of corralling the fresh water that would otherwise cause flooding in Europe, Asia, and Africa and pump it into the most convenient desert perhaps enclosing it into huge elevated pools to be used for gravity fed irrigation of deserts and semi deserts.

There must be better terms for this process than either geoforming or terraforming. These terms are better applied to more far reaching and complex processes. When we get sloppy with definitions and language usage we make accurate communication much more difficult and I'm already having more difficulty than I need.

Bobunf
2004-Aug-07, 12:12 AM
“it used to be the Sahara forest? I think humans had a hand in that change a long time ago.”

The Sahara desert has had an average rainfall varying from 5 to 25 mm per year for about five thousand years. I really doubt humans had anything at all to do with changing the rainfall pattern over the Sahara 5,000 years ago. Generally trees don’t grow with less than 250 mm of rainfall per year.

Why is it always blame humans first if anything changes? Climate on Earth has changed drastically and frequently for over four billion years. Humans aren’t required.

ASEI
2004-Aug-07, 12:33 AM
It's usually blame humans first, because if you can point to some phenomenon, link it to an activity you don't like, generate insecurity, and scare them, it is easier to make them do what you want them to do. Doom prophecy has always made people do dumb things.

"Human activity is BAD, if you keep doing x eventually BAD things will happen. But if we were in control things would be different, and you wouldn't have to worry about BAD things happening." :rolleyes:

Tom2Mars
2004-Aug-07, 02:17 AM
Bobunf, re-
The Sahara desert has had an average rainfall varying from 5 to 25 mm per year for about five thousand years. I really doubt humans had anything at all to do with changing the rainfall pattern over the Sahara 5,000 years ago. Generally trees don’t grow with less than 250 mm of rainfall per year.

Sorry to break it to you Bob, but humans have been in and around the Sahara area for over 65,000 years. The remains of the trees are there in the geologic record. The archeological evidence appears to suggest that humans have had an effect in the past. And you don't have to look too hard around the planet to see what effect on the local climate deforestation is having. Deforestation is happening now mostly because of humans. It's a fact.

And ASEI, re-
It's usually blame humans first, because if you can point to some phenomenon, link it to an activity you don't like, generate insecurity, and scare them, it is easier to make them do what you want them to do.

Well, thank goodness you aren't talking about me! Anybody with a 5th grade reading ability who's read any or all of my posts will be able to tell you that I am always suggesting positive ways to improve things, positive ways to be more productive, and overwhelmingly positive and optomistic in my belief that we can be good caretakers of the environment, 'and' make tons of money, lots of money.

In fact, by working smarter, and being more efficient and productive, people and businesses can make more money and more profit than by being greedy and using short-term thinking. Right now in the US, a lot of formerly rich executives are going to jail for short term thinking. There are consequences.

Bobunf
2004-Aug-07, 03:45 AM
“humans have been in and around the Sahara area for over 65,000 years.”

I think the “over 65,000” is off by about an order of magnitude--half a million years would be more like it. There isn’t any archeological evidence that I know of that humans cut or burned trees in the Sahara 5,000 or more years ago. Do you know of any? I doubt there are any remains of trees from the Sahara 5,000 or more years ago. The organics usually don't last nearly that long. Do you know of any source for such an assertion?

“The archeological evidence appears to suggest that humans have had an effect in the past.”

What archeological evidence suggests humans have ever had an effect on rainfall anywhere? I doubt there are even inferences, let alone evidence.

In any case, I don’t think humans cut or burned down whole forests in the Sahara 5,000 years ago. Your talking about populations of a few thousand people with stone tools. The Sahara is an area bigger than the United States. I think you’re confusing cause and effect. It stopped raining so the trees disappeared.

That’s a lot easier to swallow than “people cut all the trees 5,000 years ago, and then it stopped raining.”

Sorry to break it to you Tom. but humans have been in and around Northern Europe for hundreds of thousands of years. But that’s not why we've had glaciations, which directly destroyed much larger amounts of forest than ever existed in the Sahara.

Once again, climate on Earth has changed drastically and frequently for over four billion years. Humans aren’t required.

Bob

Bobunf
2004-Aug-07, 03:57 AM
Tom,

I'm so happy we have you around to tell us that “working smarter, and being more efficient and productive, people and businesses can make more money and more profit than by being greedy and using short-term thinking.”

How many formerly rich executives went broke last year trying to make at least some money. 100,000? (Business bankruptcies plus who knows how many personal that were really business) If only they had known about you Tom, and your deep business insights, all of that could have been avoided.

I have noticed a surprise that awaits most smart people going into business is how smart their competitors are. And, one of the problems that appear to exist with increasing efficiency and productivity is a declining need for workers.

“a lot of formerly rich executives are going to jail for short term thinking”

How many was a lot? Six? Eight?

I didn’t know short term thinking was a crime; but I actually thought the lesson of the Martha Stewart case was that if the Feds come calling, lawyer up. That's long term thinking.

Bob

zephyr46
2004-Aug-07, 06:02 AM
There must be better terms for this process than either geoforming or terraforming

GOURDHEAD, drylands hydration and eco-building?


Warning, don't try this, it will kill you!

Bobunf, you know how greenies stop logging in cambodia from those smart competitors? With guns. There is as simple expirement ASEI and you could try, I call it;

"What would happen if we cut down all the trees?"

To do this, all you need is a shopping bag, no cheating, because we will all know if you don't do this! :)

Put it on your head. As I said, it is a simple one.

And a simple one for car lovers. This one is called;

"Why cars are bad!"

You need a car, and a hose. Again, no cheating, cause we will all know if you didn't try this!
Close the windows, connect the hose to the exhaust (that is the little pipe at that back that emits carbon monoxide and other by product from having fun in a car) and stick it through the window.

Now, I know us greenies are pretty dumb, probably because we haven't tried these experiments, but, even enviromental vandals arn't entirely stupid, because neither have they!

perhaps you two could keep you anti enviromental retoric to yourselves, because it is pretty boring to us :) Most of us have heard it before, you arn't saying anything new and you arn't contributing to any solutions. If you truly believe your anti-enviromental stance, have the courage of your convictions! Try the two experiments above, otherwise mellow your vibes! I think your continued participation at this forum will prove to all concerned that you have change your mind about greenies being anti human, Thanks, it is so rare for such positive aknowlegement and inspiration to continue in the green quest for a better future! :)

Now, about greening the Sahara, If there isn't a borefeild, you could pump water from existing dams and rivers. In permaculture, we would start by catching what rain does fall, extracting moisture from the air, build micro-climates with local plants, add other desert plants from the same latitude and from the northern latitude. Rocks, hold moisture, and protect younger plants from wind. There is a speicies of Acacia from Australia that is being planted widely across africa that provides an edable seed and is fast growing and easily propagated.

The secret to growing most plants comes with a carbon rich soil, human waste as well as animal fits in here. Compost, plenty of carbon matter mulch etc. Plenty of sun is good for plants with water and nutrients.

I must ask the question, for what purpose? I read in another post, the atmosphere on mars is too thin for plants, it provokes a drought response. so I would, here, say yes, you would need to genetically create plants for the martian enviroment.

It would be great to see a space station with centrifugal force within the next 5 to ten years in orbit around the moon growing food for any lunar colony. Or a biological air filtration system for the existing space station that provides food. Satisfing needs in situ, would dramatically lower the cost of human space travel.

In not sure eco-adjusting the Sahara does anything towards this goal. It is an ecology of itself now, with human cultures that have adapted to it conditions.

I sometimes think it would be better to see human settlement move towards desert habitats, especially in preference to rainforests and coastal ecosystems, it is human to look at harsh enviroments and avoid them or change them.

It would be better in the long run to preserve the farming lands for farming instead of urban sprawl, for sure, but the desert enviroment remains difficult to transform.

Tom2Mars
2004-Aug-07, 07:58 AM
Bobunf, re- Your whole Rant...

Sahara turned to desert in abrupt climate change (http://www.climateark.org/articles/1999/sahturnd.htm)

This particular article mentions that humans probably didn't have a hand in it, I've read other articles that mention they did. And having a small hand in change can nudge things sometimes. Anyway, it was a forest.
WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE SAHARA FOREST? (http://www.powerattunements.com/article78.html)

Google up more on the subject if you want.

Wood samples can last thousands of years.

And re- the business comment...
) If only they had known about you Tom, and your deep business insights, all of that could have been avoided.

Yeah, that's right Bob. I'm the next new thing. And as far as I can tell, there won't be much competition for quite a while.

And if the other businessmen do decide to compete, and get into the business of making afordable housing that can be utility independent, not pollute and not cause greenhouse gasses to be produced, that reduces the effects of climate change and greenhouse warming...well then, I won't make so much profit myself, but I would consider that a success...for the planet.

And isn't that a good goal? :D Try to relax a bit.

Bobunf
2004-Aug-07, 09:52 AM
Tom,

Your links, which you apparently intend as sources, point to the Associated Press and to the Spiritual Awakening Network, which apparently deals in Divine Energy Mastery.

Neither place is where I would look for scientific data. None of it says anything about finding trees from 5000 years ago, but AP does say, “remembered only by rock paintings.” And continues that they “concluded that the change to today's desert climate in the Sahara was triggered by changes in the Earth's orbit and the tilt of Earth's axis.”

You said, “having a small hand in change can nudge things sometimes”

Do you really think our Stone Age ancestors gave the Earth’s axis a “nudge?”

With this picture in mind it is really hard to relax.

Bob

ASEI
2004-Aug-07, 02:25 PM
Zephyr

I think your reply is rather condescending.

I'm not anti-environment. I'm just anti-environmentalist, because they aren't fighting for a clean environment either. (As evidenced by their rejection of nuclear power, wind power, hydro power, tidal power, industry in general regardless of whether or not it pollutes . . . ) They just have a political agenda.

Most of the stuff they regularly say cannot be trusted. For example, the repeated dogmatic assertion that the rainforests are responisble for recycling the planet's oxygen is simply not true. The oceans are the lungs of the planet, reponsible for 70% of the oxygen recycling, the effects of oceanic plant life and algae.

My understanding of most jungle countries is that they want farmland so that people can grow things and eat and what they have to work with is an overgrown swamp. Most of the deforestation that goes on down there is an attempt to clear land for farming. It is the same thing that every country has done to the land it occupies, because everyone has the same basic desire for food. I'm guessing that with the starving Cambodians, who have nothing due to some particularly unfortunate historical events involving a brutal communist government, have a strong desire to obtain food and wood, and other essentials.

Honestly my perception of environmentalist politics is that they are arrogant, cold power-grabbers who despise any activity that others do for the betterment of their circumstances. They view such activity as somehow morally wrong (though I'm sure they wouldn't want to give up what they have and join the "unwashed masses") and either romanticize some vision of our awful medievel past, or just hate mankind in general and hope we die off under their intolerable imposed conditions. The good news is that people are generally self-interested and probably won't listen to these people.
Which brings me to my next point -
Bobunf, you know how greenies stop logging in cambodia from those smart competitors? With guns. Ahh, isn't this always the way of things. After all, it is for their own good, I'm sure. They just can't see what is in their best interests. They need strong guidance from a strong leadership. :rolleyes:

I'm not annoyed with people like Tom2Mars, because so far from what I have read he seems like he advocates letting people make up their own mind about things, including his processes, and decide what is most benificial.

People who seek to impose their political agenda on free people at the point of a gun are either delusional, misguided (because they believe that others are not attempting to do what is in their best interests), or megalomaniacal (because their doom-prophecy is just rationalization for their desire to crush and control people).

Tom2Mars
2004-Aug-07, 02:37 PM
Bobunf, Oh boy, here we go...
Your links, which you apparently intend as sources, point to the Associated Press and to the Spiritual Awakening Network, which apparently deals in Divine Energy Mastery.

When I googled them up, they were the first two on a list of 157,000. There is more data out there. If you are interested in learning some information and making an informed decision, do some legwork, I don't have the time to spoonfeed you.


None of it says anything about finding trees from 5000 years ago

So, if two small references don't contain all the information that has ever been written on the subject, the information doesn't exist for you, is that it? All the books from my Anthropology and Archeology days are boxed up, since I am now working on energy-efficient homes, offices and space/remote research habitats.

I only bring up the fact that the area was once green to indicate that there is a chance it might become green again someday. Not that I think it will be done, or be done in our lifetime. I'm just acknowledging the posibility.


Do you really think our Stone Age ancestors gave the Earth’s axis a “nudge?”


Excuse me? No, last time I checked, I wasn't a brainless idiot, why would I think of that possibility? Gee, that would have never occurred to me!

Let me put it this way. You are standing at the edge of a canyon, and you don't want to fall in. A strong wind comes along and is pushing you towards the edge, but you have the strength and awareness to lean back into the wind a little bit and not fall in. This is not the time to have your friend next to you slap you on the back.

If natural events the the environment and the weather patterns are causing natural changes, it is not the time to do things which would exacerbate them, that is, to do anything which might make it worse.

Have fun with this topic, research it if you want to, I am not going to debate this with you anymore...Have a nice weekend.

Bobunf
2004-Aug-07, 03:21 PM
Your two assertions of fact with which I disagreed were that “The remains of the trees are there” and “evidence appears to suggest that humans have had an effect in the past”

I’m quite sure neither of these assertions are true and the only evidence that you present says nothing about the first, and flatly contradicts the second, which leaves me even more convinced that you don’t remember correctly or that you just made it up.

What are you doing displaying links that actually contradict your position? Do you think that is likely to convince anybody or did you figure nobody would look?

As for winds blowing and slaps on the back, with 5 to 25 mm of rainfall per year, nothing our ancestors could possibly have done would have made any difference at all. The rainfall is deficient by an order of magnitude—that doesn’t respond to any Stone Age nudges. Try shoveling the ocean back with a fork.

The proper response when challenged and unable to support your assertion is to back off; not to say “I’m too busy; you search the globe looking for something that isn’t there.” It’s shorter to just say, “Shut up,” which maybe is what is intended.

ASEI
2004-Aug-07, 04:37 PM
Hey, something to do with the sahara -

I once saw an article that if you create shallow pools of salt-water, you can use them as vats to grow single celled algae cultures. The masses of algae generated can then be swept up and processed into some sort of alchohol for synthetic fuel.

Perhaps this could be a useful industry using readily available materials and otherwise unoccupied land.

eburacum45
2004-Aug-08, 04:50 PM
Just pointing out once again, that the oxygen in our atmosphere has not been created by the plantlife living on Earth at this moment; it is mostly fossil oxygen, created from primeval CO2 by plants which died long ago.

The small fraction of the oxygen which is cycled by the biosphere is mostly cycled by the phytoplankton in the ocean, as you said, ASEI;

but very little of the total oxygen is produced by living plants. If you burnt all the plants, including plankton, in the world to make CO2 you would barely lower the oxygen level.

The atmosphere would be unbreathable because of high CO2; but there would still be plenty of fossil oxygen.

zephyr46
2004-Aug-09, 06:10 AM
QUOTE*
Bobunf, you know how greenies stop logging in cambodia from those smart competitors? With guns.

Ahh, isn't this always the way of things. After all, it is for their own good, I'm sure. They just can't see what is in their best interests. They need strong guidance from a strong leadership.*

I'm not annoyed with people like Tom2Mars, because so far from what I have read he seems like he advocates letting people make up their own mind about things, including his processes, and decide what is most benificial.

People who seek to impose their political agenda on free people at the point of a gun are either delusional, misguided (because they believe that others are not attempting to do what is in their best interests), or megalomaniacal (because their doom-prophecy is just rationalization for their desire to crush and control people).

Actually, it is because most of the Illegal logging is done under the protection of high ranking generals.

And ASIE, when Bob Brown heads the United Nations, then I will concede there is an interest in power for power sake in the green movement. My expirience so far has been one of disempowered groups and individuals with good Ideas working together to make positive change and usally meeting the hard end of a baton or capsicum spray to the eyes or being shunted by orderlies In Parliment (where they are elected representitives)

Political Content Removed - note this topic is permitted to discuss broadly the people and agencies that might be required to accomplish the large Earth-based project, but the removed content went too far into sensitive matters, leading to a reply that also had to be removed.

Bridh Hancock
2004-Nov-08, 05:55 AM
There have been reforestaton projects started in the Sahara, but they have been vandalised by ignorant persons and political anti-forces,
To regreen the Sahara, we must work with the Saharan peoples, sharing scientifically verifiable education, and of course being excited about it.

Regreening; where plants are removed, there desertification begins. Where plants are established, there desertification stops and may disappear. Wilderness is not desert, and may be the greenest that much of the Sahara gets.

We can apply this to Mars and other worlds, with sense and sensitivity, and we might green Mars and other worlds. Let us green and regreen Earth first, with respect for the natural order and native peoples.

zephyr46
2004-Nov-09, 05:07 AM
Desert is an enviroment that has it's own species that have adapted to survive in that harsh enviroment, and, when you green their enviroment, they die.

Where Desertification has resulted from deforestation, sure, green it!

I would recomend permaculture, so that it is usefull to the humans that desforested it. Most greenies would say, revegitate to the original ecosystem.