Download e-book for iPad: Deserts (The Extreme Earth) by Pete Aleshire

By Pete Aleshire

ISBN-10: 0816064342

ISBN-13: 9780816064342

ISBN-10: 1438106661

ISBN-13: 9781438106663

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Extra info for Deserts (The Extreme Earth)

Example text

The well formed when a gigantic limestone cavern created by an underground hot spring collapsed, leaving a crater in a hill. 8 m) well thereafter maintained a constant water level. The valley’s earliest inhabitants discovered the well and used the outlet to provide a steady supply of irrigation water. Native American legends hold that our world, the Fourth World, started here long ago. Human beings fled the first three worlds just ahead of rising floodwaters caused by gods disgusted with human strife, greed, and deceit.

Moreover, activities like cattle grazing have converted huge swaths of grassland into desert. Meanwhile, the pollution-spurred warming of the planet could significantly increase the duration and severity of droughts, which tree-ring studies demonstrate could last 30 years or more even before the most recent rise in global temperatures. The rapidly growing cities of the Sonoran Desert are likely to face hard choices and grave challenges in the decades to come. Let’s hope they have better luck than the Hohokam.

Human beings remain the most dramatic of the keystone species, since their activities have a huge impact on ecosystems and now even the climatic patterns of the entire planet. One of the best places to glimpse the impact of human beings on deserts and grasslands and the boundary between them lies in southern Arizona near the border with Mexico where a nature preserve protects a frail fragment of grasslands that once covered much of southeastern Arizona, but which now has largely become the Sonoran Desert.

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Deserts (The Extreme Earth) by Pete Aleshire

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