The idea of bringing seawater into the desert has been around since the last century. However, this would be considered crazy if realized because it would lead to a series of phenomena that could put people in danger.
Sahara Oceanization Plan
According to CNN, the idea of creating the “Sahara Sea” has been researched by scientists for 140 years and almost came to fruition in the 1980s.
The only basis for this project to work is the fact that large areas of the Sahara are below sea level: Mauritania’s El Djouf Basin; the dry salt lakes of Tunisia; The Qattara Depression (132 m below sea level) in northwestern Egypt is the lowest landmass on Earth.
The “Sahara Sea” plan was first proposed in 1877 by British engineer Donald McKenzie. He found that building a 640km canal from Morocco’s Cape Juby southeast into Mauritania could create an inland sea the size of Ireland.
Ferdinand de Lesseps, the French diplomat who also helped build the Suez and Panama Canals, found central Tunisia to be more prone to flooding. However, his “sea” will be smaller in size, equivalent to the state of Massachusetts (USA).
The purpose of this is to create a wetter climate and more fertile soil in North Africa. If that were to happen, it would make European colonies valuable. These man-made lakes will also facilitate French trade across the Sahara.
Opponents, however, have warned that channeling nearly half of the Mediterranean Sea’s water into the Sahara could lead to unpredictable consequences.
Recently, this bold idea was also considered in Egypt. The government hopes to benefit from hydroelectricity if it floods the Qattara lowland.
Hired German scientists proposed detonating more than 200 atomic bombs in the desert to dig the canal. This nuclear solution scared the Egyptian presidential administration and the Qattara lake project was forgotten.
What if deserts were oceanized?
Faced with the above situation, many people will ask the question why not direct water into the desert? Scientists think that if this is done it will make desert problems more difficult to manage.
We need to understand that the main cause of desertification is climate. Even if sea water is brought in, it will evaporate quickly because there is no vegetation, so it is difficult to overcome.
When the seawater evaporates, a large amount of salt particles will be left behind and destroy the entire land so that no plants can grow.
The most important thing to control the desert is not to bring in water. If there is no vegetation, the amount of water has no effect. For example, if you want to manage a desert, you will gradually turn the desert into an oasis, first by planting drought-resistant grasses, and then gradually developing into shrubs and trees.
In addition, directing seawater into the desert can cause the Earth’s tilt to change. At the same time, this could make the entire European continent colder and lead to the birth of a new ice age.