Oases And Geopolitics

Huacachina-übersichtImagine this. You’re on a voyage through the desert. Water has not been seen for days. Barren, dry land  abounds. Suddenly, a cluster of vegetation appears. No, this is not a mirage. It is for real. Where does that vegetation come from? It hardly ever rains?

An oasis is an isolated cluster of vegetation surrounding some source of water. Very often, it is a spring. It can be a small lake. What needs to take place is an underground water source coming to the surface, such as an aquifer.

In an arid environment like the desert, water is precious. People go where the water is. Physical geography determining human geography. In an oasis, agriculture is made much easier, thanks to the availability of water. Some cities in the Sahara region got their start BECAUSE of oases.

Oases have also played a major role in human history, particularly in geopolitics. Why? It is about resources. Geopolitical issues are frequently about resources, the allocation of resources, competition for those resources, trade routes,etc. An oasis town had a role in trade. Think of it like a filling station, with more people. Here is where geopolitics has played a role. Empires looking for more control over trade routes wanted control of the oases. Geopolitics is about how geography determines the way nations relate to one another. It is about studying foreign policy through the lens of geographic factories. In the instance of an oasis, a nation wants to bolster its trade. Resources are not what said nation would like. There is competition for a certain trade route.

Example Bukhara, Uzbekistan is a city that often doesn’t make headlines these days. However, during the days of the Silk Route, it was a highly sought after city. Bukhara was an oasis city. It has long been a major center of trade because it was an oasis city. It was like a filling station. You stopped there for supplies while going along a major trade route. Because of this, it was highly sought after. Before becoming part of the Soviet Union, it was part of the Persian Empire. Seleucid Empire, Greco-Bactrians, , Kushan Empire. It was also ruled by the Mongol Empire under Genghis Khan. This was an oasis city and it was highly sought after. Its local geography made it a stopping point along a major trade route. Want more control over resources and trade? You sought the oasis cities. In the deserts, they were the islands of prosperity in an otherwise arid land.

A nation’s foreign policy would be determined by the need to control a trade route. This would me trying to get control of a certain oasis city(or cities).

Geopolitics is determined by resources related to geography. The geopolitics surrounding an oasis city has often been about access to trade. Nations fighting for control of resources.

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Iceland, Where Europe And North America Meet.

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There is vast ocean separating North America from Europe. There would be no way that Europe and North America could meet, not with land masses touching.

However, if you go to the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, there is something else to be found. A divergent plate boundary in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean is where the North American and Eurasian Plates meet. In the country of Iceland, this is known as Reykjanes Ridge. The Mid-Atlantic Ridge goes through Iceland.

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One major feature is the Silfra Fissure. A rift formed by the Mid Atlantic Ridge. This is a divergent plate boundary. The plates are moving away from each other.

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Taking a dive into the spring-fed waters of the Silfra Fissure will bring a point home. At this point, a diver can touch both the North American and Eurasian plates at once.

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The Mid-Atlantic Ridge also plays a role in Iceland’s geothermal power resources. Being a geothermal hotspot, this helps Iceland.

Iceland is located closer to continental Europe than continental North America. However, it is on both the North American and Eurasian plates. It also has some proximity to Greenland, a large North American island ruled indirectly by an EU nation, Denmark. It its own way, Iceland can be considered where Europe and North America meet.

 

Shells, Now And Later

shellsIf one ever goes to the beach, one can find many shells. This is assuming that said persons are looking for shells. Shells can be found in other places such as rivers and lakes. Anywhere a mollusk can inhabit, so can shells be found. However, there is more.

Fossils of shells have been found in many places. Fossils tell alot about what kinds of animals and plants existed in the past. Sit and thing about this. One can kind shells. Those shells were not there by accident. Someone once lived in that shell. Either the animal left that shell, or it was extracted from that shell. The shells that we see today could be the fossils some scientists find thousands of years from now. The earth’s physical processes can turn today’s shells into fossils. Think about the fossils we find today. They were once living things a long time ago.

All of that is in the future. However, looking towards the future is important in the earth sciences. This in addition to looking at the past and at today.

Railroads and Geology

If you go to some railroad tracks, look at the rocks. Many do not understand that there is a connection here between geology and railroads. Here is a lesson in geotechnics.

In a nutshell, the layer of rocks, known as track ballast, is like a foundation for the tracks, stopper of flooding, inhibitor of weeds. To get a more detailed explanation of this topic, watch the video below.