Last month I posted a picture released by ESA of dust plumes from the Bodélé Depression in North Africa, the site of massive lake. This dust makes its way over the Atlantic and fertilises the forests of the Amazon basin.
Now a really interesting new paper has revealed that much of the phosphorous in this dust (phosphorous is the key limiting nutrient in tropical forests) comes from fish fossils eroding out from the sediments of the former Megalake Chad. The paper has been written up nicely by the BBC.
This is an amazing example of nutrient cycling through the Earth System on remarkable time and spatial scales!
"The finding is important because this type of phosphorus is more soluble and available to ecosystems like the Amazon than other types of phosphorus that come from rocks. "The Bodélé fish phosphorus is like that found in fish bone meal that gardeners use as a fertiliser" The team's aim is to go back to Chad to investigate precisely how long the important dusts can be sustained.