SciCombinator

Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Nile

71

The Late Bronze Age world of the Eastern Mediterranean, a rich linkage of Aegean, Egyptian, Syro-Palestinian, and Hittite civilizations, collapsed famously 3200 years ago and has remained one of the mysteries of the ancient world since the event’s retrieval began in the late 19(th) century AD/CE. Iconic Egyptian bas-reliefs and graphic hieroglyphic and cuneiform texts portray the proximate cause of the collapse as the invasions of the “Peoples-of-the-Sea” at the Nile Delta, the Turkish coast, and down into the heartlands of Syria and Palestine where armies clashed, famine-ravaged cities abandoned, and countrysides depopulated. Here we report palaeoclimate data from Cyprus for the Late Bronze Age crisis, alongside a radiocarbon-based chronology integrating both archaeological and palaeoclimate proxies, which reveal the effects of abrupt climate change-driven famine and causal linkage with the Sea People invasions in Cyprus and Syria. The statistical analysis of proximate and ultimate features of the sequential collapse reveals the relationships of climate-driven famine, sea-borne-invasion, region-wide warfare, and politico-economic collapse, in whose wake new societies and new ideologies were created.

Concepts: Mediterranean Sea, Turkey, Ancient Egypt, Egypt, Bronze Age, Levant, Nile, Mesopotamia

27

Petroleum oil is an important source for the energy in the world. The Gulf of Suez, Nile Delta and South Valley are important regions for studying hydrocarbon potential in Egypt. A thorium normalization technique was applied on the sandstone reservoirs in the three regions to determine the hydrocarbon potentialities zones using the three spectrometric radioactive gamma ray-logs (eU, eTh and K% logs). The conventional well logs (gamma-ray, deep resistivity, shallow resistivity, neutron, density and sonic logs) are analyzed to determine the net pay zones in these wells. Indices derived from thorium normalized spectral logs indicate the hydrocarbon zones in petroleum reservoirs. The results of this technique in the three regions (Gulf of Suez, Nile Delta and South Valley) are in agreement with the results of the conventional well log analyses by ratios of 82%, 78% and 71% respectively.

Concepts: Energy, Radioactive decay, Nuclear fission, Egypt, Red Sea, Nile, Nile Delta, Suez Canal

27

Sea level changes are typically caused by several natural phenomena, including ocean thermal expansion, glacial melt from Greenland and Antarctica. Global average sea level is expected to rise, through the twenty-first century, according to the IPCC projections by between 0.18 and 0.59 cm. Such a rise in sea level will significantly impact coastal area of the Nile Delta, consisting generally of lowland and is densely populated areas and accommodates significant proportion of Egypt’s economic activities and built-up areas. The Nile Delta has been examined in several previous studies, which worked under various hypothetical sea level rise (SLR) scenarios and provided different estimates of areas susceptible to inundation due to SLR. The paper intends, in this respect, to identify areas, as well as land use/land cover, susceptible to inundation by SLR based upon most recent scenarios of SLR, by the year 2100 using GIS. The results indicate that about 22.49, 42.18, and 49.22 % of the total area of coastal governorates of the Nile Delta would be susceptible to inundation under different scenarios of SLR. Also, it was found that 15.56 % of the total areas of the Nile Delta that would be vulnerable to inundation due to land subsidence only, even in the absence of any rise in sea level. Moreover, it was found that a considerable proportion of these areas (ranging between 32.32 and 53.66 %) are currently either wetland or undeveloped areas. Furthermore, natural and/or man-made structures, such as the banks of the International Coastal Highway, were found to provide unintended protection to some of these areas. This suggests that the inundation impact of SLR on the Nile Delta is less than previously reported.

Concepts: Coast, Population density, Egypt, Nile, Cairo, Nile Delta, Aswan Dam, Suez Canal

13

During an elective in Uganda, a 24-year-old Dutch medical student swam in the Nile River. Two months after his return, he presented with a nonproductive cough and malaise, as well as diarrhea and nonpruritic rash. Examination revealed multiple small papules on the trunk.

Concepts: Uganda, Sudan, Nile, Lake Victoria, Cairo, Egyptian Public Works

10

Plague is a life-threatening disease caused by the bacterium, Yersinia pestis. Since the 1990s, Africa has accounted for the majority of reported human cases. In Uganda, plague cases occur in the West Nile region, near the border with Democratic Republic of Congo. Despite the ongoing risk of contracting plague in this region, little is known about Y. pestis genotypes causing human disease.

Concepts: Democratic Republic of the Congo, Republic, Yersinia pestis, Bubonic plague, Sudan, Rwanda, Nile

6

Fine Yin-Shang bronzes containing lead with puzzlingly highly radiogenic isotopic compositions appeared suddenly in the alluvial plain of the Yellow River around 1400 BC. The Tongkuangyu copper deposit in central China is known to have lead isotopic compositions even more radiogenic and scattered than those of the Yin-Shang bronzes. Most of the Yin-Shang bronzes are tin-copper alloys with high lead contents. The low lead and tin concentrations, together with the less radiogenic lead isotopes of bronzes in an ancient smelting site nearby, however, exclude Tongkuangyu as the sole supplier of the Yin-Shang bronzes. Interestingly, tin ingots/prills and bronzes found in Africa also have highly radiogenic lead isotopes, but it remains mysterious as to how such African bronzes may have been transported to China. Nevertheless, these African bronzes are the only bronzes outside China so far reported that have lead isotopes similar to those of the Yin-Shang bronzes. All these radiogenic lead isotopes plot along ~2.0-2.5 Ga isochron lines, implying that deposits around Archean cratons are the most likely candidates for the sources. African cratons along the Nile and even micro-cratons in the Sahara desert may have similar lead signatures. These places were probably accessible by ancient civilizations, and thus are the most favorable suppliers of the bronzes.

Concepts: Africa, Sahara, China, Zinc, Copper, Isotope, Tin, Nile

4

Rift Valley Fever (RVF) is a mosquito-borne zoonosis, which may cause significant losses for the livestock sector and have serious public health implications. Egypt has been repeatedly affected by RVF epidemics, mainly associated to the importation of animals from sub-Saharan countries, where the disease is endemic. The objective of our study was the improvement of the surveillance and control strategies implemented in Egypt. In order to do that, first we evaluated the legal trade of live animals into and within Egypt. Then, we assessed the risk of Rift Valley Fever virus (RVFV) transmission within the country using a multi-criteria evaluation approach. Finally, we combined the animal trade and the risk of RVFV transmission data to identify those areas and periods in which the introduction of RVFV is more likely. Our results indicate that the main risk of RVFV introduction is posed by the continuous flow of large number of camels coming from Sudan. The risk of RVFV transmission by vectors is restricted to the areas surrounding the Nile river, and does not vary significantly throughout the year. Imported camels are taken to quarantines, where the risk of RVFV transmission by vectors is generally low. Then, they are taken to animal markets or slaughterhouses, many located in populated areas, where the risk of RVFV transmission to animals or humans is much higher. The measures currently implemented (quarantines, vaccination or testing) seem to have a limited effect in reducing the risk of RVFV introduction, and therefore other (risk-based) surveillance strategies are proposed.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Sahara, Ethiopia, Sudan, Red Sea, Nile, Cairo, Nubia

1

Plague is a highly virulent fleaborne zoonosis that occurs throughout many parts of the world; most suspected human cases are reported from resource-poor settings in sub-Saharan Africa. During 2008-2016, a combination of active surveillance and laboratory testing in the plague-endemic West Nile region of Uganda yielded 255 suspected human plague cases; approximately one third were laboratory confirmed by bacterial culture or serology. Although the mortality rate was 7% among suspected cases, it was 26% among persons with laboratory-confirmed plague. Reports of an unusual number of dead rats in a patient’s village around the time of illness onset was significantly associated with laboratory confirmation of plague. This descriptive summary of human plague in Uganda highlights the episodic nature of the disease, as well as the potential that, even in endemic areas, illnesses of other etiologies might be being mistaken for plague.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Infectious disease, Death, Malaria, Africa, Sahara, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nile

1

The termination of the African Humid Period in northeastern Africa during the early Holocene was marked by the southward migration of the rain belt and the disappearance of the Green Sahara. This interval of drastic environmental changes was also marked by the initiation of food production by North African hunter-gatherer populations and thus provides critical information on human-environment relationships. However, existing records of regional climatic and environmental changes exhibit large differences in timing and modes of the wet/dry transition at the end of the African Humid Period. Here we present independent records of changes in river runoff, vegetation and erosion in the Nile River watershed during the Holocene obtained from a unique sedimentary sequence on the Nile River fan using organic and inorganic proxy data. This high-resolution reconstruction allows to examine the phase relationship between the changes of these three parameters and provides a detailed picture of the environmental conditions during the Paleolithic/Neolithic transition. The data show that river runoff decreased gradually during the wet/arid transition at the end of the AHP whereas rapid shifts of vegetation and erosion occurred earlier between 8.7 and ∼6 ka BP. These asynchronous changes are compared to other regional records and provide new insights into the threshold responses of the environment to climatic changes. Our record demonstrates that the degradation of the environment in northeastern Africa was more abrupt and occurred earlier than previously thought and may have accelerated the process of domestication in order to secure sustainable food resources for the Neolithic African populations.

Concepts: Sahara, Ethiopia, Climate change, Egypt, Sudan, Nile, Cairo, Egyptian Public Works

1

A phylogeographic study was conducted on the Nile grass rat, Arvicanthis niloticus, a rodent species that is tightly associated with open grasslands from the Sudano-Sahelian regions. Using one mitochondrial (cytochrome b) and one nuclear (intron 7 of Beta Fibrinogen) gene, robust patterns were retrieved that clearly show that (i) the species originated in East Africa concomitantly with expanding grasslands some 2 Ma, and (ii) four parapatric and genetically well-defined lineages differentiated essentially from East to West following Pleistocene bioclimatic cycles. This strongly points towards allopatric genetic divergence within savannah refuges during humid episodes, then dispersal during arid ones; secondary contact zones would have then stabilized around geographic barriers, namely, Niger River and Lake Chad basins. Our results pertinently add to those obtained for several other African rodent as well as non-rodent species that inhabit forests, humid zones, savannahs and deserts, all studies that now allow one to depict a more comprehensive picture of the Pleistocene history of the continent south of the Sahara. In particular, although their precise location remains to be determined, at least three Pleistocene refuges are identified within the West and Central African savannah biome.

Concepts: Gene, Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, Sahara, Niger, Chad, Nile, Savanna