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Did Socrates say "Know Thyself", or was he misunderstood, as all are. Show Thyself is all we can do. The knowing is unknowable.  

I am filled with joy.  It can't be helped.  

Became a Farmer, Builder, Musician, Tank Commander, Librarian, Lawyer and Minister. I have failed at many things. And now retired.  Filled, just filled, with Joy. 

Thursday, December 29, 2005

South America - Amazon Delta

GLOBAL WARMING. The delta of the Amazon River is low and flat. Because it lies near the equator it is also warm and humid. It is teaming with life, most of it semi-aquatic. As the polar ice melts, and as the oceans themselves expand, sea levels will rise, backing up the Delta and flooding Amazonia.

WORLD'S LARGEST LAKE. The Delta is already the world's largest freshwater lake during the rainy season. Although covered by a canopy of jungle or filled in with pampa grassland vegetation, Amazonia is actually under standing water during the rains. As the seas move up the Delta, the water will not drain, it will merely convert to a shallow tidal basin over 2000 kilometers deep. The entire rain forest, as we know it, will not survive the briny intrusion.

THE PETRI DISH. Today, the Amazon is navigable by deepwater vessels as far as Manaus. However, the additional elevation of the highwater mark will not necessarily increase navigability because so much of the bed of the basin is flat and friable. Little or no "rock" compositions, or weak sandstones, characterize much of the basin. It is unlikely that this enormous estuary will be useful to humans or the jungle life forms presently inhabiting it. We note, of course, that the upper Amazon - near the confluences of the Beni, the Madre de Dios, and the Mamore -- has been identified as the most fecund and prolific spot on the Planet in terms of numbers of species. More kinds of life have been "found" here than anywhere else. Those freshwater "jungle" forms of life will not survive the brine, however, the warm wet incubating basin may see the emergence of new forms of life eventually launching into the Atlantic Ocean itself.

THE NEWFOUNDLAND FISHERY. As ocean rises, the "slope" of the Delta will reduce and the current will not "push" downstream with as much force. The alternating dyadic force of tide will engage and neutralize the current which now pushes the brown water thousands of miles into the Atlantic flowing North, and eventually feeding nutrients past the Carribean Sea up to the coast of Newfoundland. Since the discovery by the Bristol fisherman as a trade secret before Columbus, the Newfoundland fishery off the coast of America has been the richest saltwater fishery in the world. It is not a historical coincidence that the Whaling Industry was born in New England. However, the nutrient mass pushed into the sea from Amazonia will not only reduce, it will be "pushed" less deeply. The jungle will disappear, the brown waters clarify, and the run-off current will bow to tidal reverses. Very little nutrient will reach the fisheries of the North Atlantic.