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Soil Erosion: Scientists discover Earliest Human Impact on Environment

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Soil Erosion has a huge impact on environment. VOA
  • Scientists have discovered wide rates of erosion dating back to 11,500 years ago from the Dead Sea in Israel
  • the erosion occurred during the Neolithic Revolution
  • The discovery took place as part of the Dead Sea Deep Drilling Project

New York, June 6, 2017: Scientists have discovered wide rates of erosion dating back to 11,500 years ago from the Dead Sea in Israel — touted as the oldest geological evidence of man-made impact on the environment.

The discovery took place as part of the Dead Sea Deep Drilling project, which harnessed a 1,500-foot-deep drill core to delve into the Dead Sea basin.

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The core sample, which provided the researchers with a sediment record of the last 220,000 years, showed basin-wide erosion rates dramatically opposite to the known tectonic and climatic regimes of the period.

We noted a sharp threefold increase in the fine sand that was carried into the Dead Sea by seasonal floods. This intensified erosion is incompatible with tectonic and climatic regimes during the Holocene, the geological epoch that began after the Pleistocene some 11,700 years ago, said lead author Shmuel Marco, Professor at the Tel Aviv University in Israel.

The study, published in the journal Global and Planetary Change, showed that the erosion occurred during the Neolithic Revolution, the wide-scale transition of human cultures from hunting and gathering to agriculture and settlement. The shift resulted in an exponentially larger human population on the planet.

Natural vegetation was replaced by crops, animals were domesticated, grazing reduced the natural plant cover, and deforestation provided more area for grazing, Marco said.

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All these resulted in the intensified erosion of the surface and increased sedimentation, which we discovered in the Dead Sea core sample, he added.

The researchers are currently in the process of recovering the record of earthquakes from the same drill core.

We have identified disturbances in the sediment layers that were triggered by the shaking of the lake bottom. It will provide us with a 220,000-year record — the most extensive earthquake record in the world, Marco said. (IANS)

Next Story

Here’s Why Living in Greener Areas is Important!

The longitudinal study, published in the journal Environmental Pollution, used data from over 6,000 adults, aged between 45-69 from the UK

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Greener Areas
Long-term exposure to Greener Areas could play an important role in preventing metabolic syndrome as a whole, as well as individual components such as large waist circumference, high levels of blood fats or hypertension. Pixabay

Middle-aged and older adults that live in Greener Areas were at a lower risk of developing metabolic syndrome than those living in areas with less green spaces, a new study said.

Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions that occur together and include obesity, hypertension, high blood sugar levels and abnormal fat levels.

“The study found more health benefits in those areas with higher tree coverage, which provides a basis for investigating the types of vegetation that impact positively on our health,” said study author Payam Dadvand from the Barcelona Institute for Global Health.

In this study, the researchers examined the link with metabolic syndrome as a whole, providing an indicator of overall cardiometabolic health, and in the long-term.

The longitudinal study, published in the journal Environmental Pollution, used data from over 6,000 adults, aged between 45-69 from the UK.

Participants underwent four examinations over 14 years (1997-2013), with a series of tests including blood analysis, blood pressure and waist circumference measurements.

Residential greenness was determined by satellite images.

Greener Areas
Middle-aged and older adults that live in Greener Areas were at a lower risk of developing metabolic syndrome than those living in areas with less green spaces, a new study said. Wikimedia Commons

These findings suggest that long-term exposure to Greener Areas could play an important role in preventing metabolic syndrome as a whole, as well as individual components such as large waist circumference, high levels of blood fats or hypertension.

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The association observed was higher for women than for men.

The study showed that people living in greener areas have slower cognitive decline. Less stress, greater longevity, or a better overall and mental health are other benefits proved by scientific studies. (IANS)