One fish, two fish. This Burundian fish called the Makeke can only be found in one place throughout the world: Lake Tanganyika. Locals here eat it as a baby as well as when it’s full grown. The big guy pictured was going for 20,000 Burndi Francs, about $12.50. (at Somewhere in Burundi)
Tanganyika Lake is known as the world’s second largest lake by volume. It provides prized fish and a place to wash your bike. (at Tanganyika Lake, Burundi)
Tanganyika lake is thought to the world’s second largest lake. It provides prized fish and a place to wash your bike. (at Tanganyika Lake, Burundi)
It’s hard to breath in Kathmandu. Dust from ongoing construction, exhaust from too many cars and mopeds and pollution from factories stagnates in the ancient valley. Locals wear masks while walking the streets. Curse of the mighty Himalayas. (at Kathmandu)
The streets of Kathmandu are dotted with temples, statues of the Gods and offerings like this one, found in an alley. (at Kathmandu)
Bye bye Dubai. I landed in Dubai at 5:30 pm and had a flight to Nepal the next day around noon. So I left the airport hotel and headed for the tallest building in the world. I was met with dancing fountains that dazzled tourists from all over the world and some really good hummus, tabbouleh and a dancing fountain music show.
How did we get from the top photo to the bottom one? And why does it matter?
It’s a neat story that took 100 million years to unfold, and combines geology, geography, forced human migration, agriculture, commodities and politics. It also reminds me why I studied geology and now work in things geographical.
I had lunch with my friend Pierre last week, and we were talking about these long arc stories of geology and geography (which I call geolography), which made me think of this article about geology and elections from last year by Craig McLain on Deep Sea News.
The summary: 100 million years ago ish, shallow seas covered the southern United Sates (see top photo, which is not from Google Earth). The chalk they left behind created rich dark fertile soils in a band that traced the receding seas, resulting in a richly productive agricultural region. In order to meet the demand for cotton production provided from these soils, in the 19th century this area was where slaves were taken in the largest numbers. After the end of slavery, this band remained majority African American in population, and votes overwhelmingly Democratic in presidential elections.
The bottom map, 2008 presidential election results by county from the New York Times, then shows us how these ancient seas influenced (dictated? strong word, environmental determinism undertones) contemporary politics through their physical imprint on the landscape.
I studied geology as an undergrad because I liked tromping around in the mountains and traveling all over the world — the Venn diagram of geologic phenomena and cool places has a generous area of overlap. But after a few years of cool adventures, I realized that the gaping chasm of time between me and what I was studying left me lacking a real world connection to my work. The shift to maps and geography for grad school was an easy one to make since I could still study and interpret the landscape, but through a contemporary lens. And maybe even have a positive impact on global development.
But I like the seas-to-elections story because it ties together an ancient past that may not seem relevant, but in fact has had a (literally) fundamental impact on current political trends.
Source: Deep Sea News
Read some more about geology and elections from Steven Dutch at the University of Wisconsin - Green Bay.
Very cool geological and historical explanation of why certain parts of America vote overwhelmingly Democratic.