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Ancient Buried Lakes of the Sahara

Sahara Desert, Morocco pictures

An ancient lake bed 350 kilometers long has been discovered beneath the sands of Egypt's vast Sahara desert. Geologist Ted Maxwell at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC, and colleagues examined high resolution pictures (shown below) of south western Egypt taken by NASA's Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM), a modified radar system used onboard Space Shuttle Endeavour in February 2000 and identified a region in an area called Tushka where water formed a lake after overflowing from the Nile. The lake appeared around 250,000 years ago - during a period of wet climate when the region would have been covered in grasslands - and dried up 80,000 years ago, covering an area of 68,200 square kilometers at its peak.

The extent of the lake explains how fossilized fish from the last interglacial period ended up at Bir Tarfawi, 400 km west of the Nile. The fossils occur at the same elevation at the ends of runoff channels north of Selima Oasis in Sudan. At 190 meters above sea level a smaller basin may have contained the lake as it shrank. Acheulian hand axes dating from the middle Pleistocene were found here.

Evidence points to mega-lakes also exiting in Chad, Sudan and Libya. The locations of these ancient oases could help explain migratory patterns of early humans.  


Jason McManus
Image bottom of page: NASA



I'm planning a trip to Egypt this summer and I'm always on the History channels checking out the past present and future of Egypt.

Where did all the water go?
Is there any water left deep under the sand?
Is there always a ground water table everywhere and if so, is it drill-able?
I find the note, that if this lake existed, how much it would of effected mans' migrations, right on.

In that part of the wood the most importand issua are inside the sand...

@What'sYourName ... would have affected ... not 'would of effected'.

Nice Geographical Skills Dude, i've never thought hearing a 21st century man says that Sahara is in Egypt.

@jason. Punctuation, use it. It will get effect.

@Meejlol: Grammer. Learn it.

You judge because you have never made a mistake.... tsk, tsk

life. get one.

English is not the only native language on the net. Get off your high horse and learn another language. There is much in the world to discover.

grammar. who cares?

-----> people with no life

Well thats a new development ti hope more will be done to discover more of the Sahara and other areas like the Serengeti also.

Look at your little video again and click the 2nd link. Obviously the Sahara expands across Northern Africa, which includes, believe it or not, Egypt.

all I got to say is, read the book Sandstorm by James Rollins. LOL

Grammar - who cares? Only people who want to be taken seriously.

How far below ground/surface is it? or did I miss something?
in other words, can the resource be utilised?

I find it so hard to look at the comments and not despair. Read the @ing bumf. It answers so clearly all the inane questions. can it be utilised. "ancient lake bed" the clue is there! fossils another clue. Grammar, of course its important for clarity at least.

That'll be the global warming caused by Neanderthal man's penchant for SUV's then.


@Moooooooooo *grammar

I despair at some people's rude inane remarks to sensible questions & their ignorant inability to apply logic or reason. The sea is on top of a bed & fossils underneath. No more explaining

"Grammar - who cares? Only people who want to be taken seriously."

Still on your throne? This is not a philosophic inquiry on the ramifications of Experimental Evidence for Anomalous Retroactive Influences on Cognition and Affect (Daryl J. Bem: read it).

If you need proper grammar to take someone seriously then stay in your English speaking hole grammar-nazi.

Libya has had a project since the 1980's recovering fresh sweet water from the Sahara - The Man Made River. This provides sufficient fresh water for Tripoli, Benghazi and numerous other locations in Libya. These lakes were "discovered" in the 1930's so the news of finding similar lakes in Egypt is not totally surprising.

Anyone doubting the impacts of small changes in climate should read this article carefully and look at the impact on North Africa and the Sahara. From being the bread basket of the Roman Empire it is now a total desert.
With what we are doing to the world's climate today, how many other regions will be deserts in just a hundred years from now.

This isn't exactly news... The whole region, from Northwest of 27N,27E, through Nabta Playa, and on South of 22N,29.6E was once under water, as evidenced by the remaining Dush oases, and orphaned wells such as the ones at 24.518326N,30.704551E, 24.515387N,30.703538E, and 24.509823N,30.703982E.

@The History Man "With what we are doing to the world's climate today, how many other regions will be deserts in just a hundred years from now."

Just want to point out that warming will move the breadbasket farther North. With cold the very real possibility of world famine exists.

Besides AGW is just a scare tactic to get into our wallets. Right now we are seeing the variability of a planetary process.

Wait for god say..


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