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Lessons Learned From Historical Droughts Throughout Time

2 months ago
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Drought can be defined as a long period with limited or no rainfall. While flash droughts last only a few weeks, some historical droughts have lasted many years.

Long-lasting droughts have had a profound effect on history. Understanding these historical floods can help prevent their devastating effects in the future.

African Megadrought

By studying sediment from Lake Malawi, one of the deepest freshwater lakes in the world, researchers believe that they have discovered that a megadrought drove people out of Africa about 110,000 years ago.

They collected soil by drilling a hole in the lake's bottom. The researchers theorized that regions going down with less carbon and less pollen in the soil represented times of drought because there would have been less vegetation.

While the lake is over 2,000 feet deep today, they found invertebrate fossils that only live in shallow water. Historians believe that at the end of this drought, people left Africa.

While researchers could peer back in time more than 150,000 years, they feel the lake first formed about 1.5 million years ago. Therefore, they say researchers can collect more climate data from this site.


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