Saharan dust blown across Atlantic, feeds Amazonian plants

February 25, 2015 6:16 PM

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As a new simulation by engineers at NASA reveals massive clouds of dust are carried across the ocean by trans-Atlantic winds to the Amazon basin. There they are deposited, and the minerals and nutrients carried within (chiefly phosphorous) are absorbed by the plants in the Amazon's rainforest.

Because of the high competition for nutrients in the Amazon, the soil there is depleted. Aside from the dust-delivered phosphorous, decomposing plant materials are the only way the soil gets replenished. So this trans-Atlantic dust delivery is important.

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