How cen­tral Asia be­came dry

Down to Earth - - SCIENCE -

CON­TRARY TO ex­ist­ing per­cep­tions, a re­view of in­ter­na­tional slums has con­cluded that liv­ing in close prox­im­ity could be a boon for al­le­vi­at­ing health SUREOHPV &DOOLQJ LW WKH kQHLJKERXUKRRG HIIHFWy WKH\ VD\ a sin­gle in­ter­ven­tion can si­mul­ta­ne­ously help im­prove many lives in densely pop­u­lated ar­eas. For in­stance, they cite Vic­to­rian London, where shut­ting off of a water pump DYHUWHG D FKROHUD HSLGHPLF 7KH kQHLJKERXUKRRG HIIHFWy could of­fer economies of scale and bet­ter re­turns on health in­vest­ments and cre­ate a healthy en­vi­ron­ment. They rec­om­mend that all cen­suses must record details of slum clus­ters, as this will en­able health ex­perts to strate­gise ef­fec­tive ac­tion.

The Lancet, Oc­to­ber 16

was a much greener re­gion 23 mil­lion years ago. Cli­matic shifts due to the rise of new moun­tain ranges over ge­o­logic time may have turned the re­gion into one of the world's most arid zones. The rise of lesser-known moun­tain ranges such as the Tian Shan and the Al­tai blocked the mois­ture from the west and the north. This was com­punded by the fact that about 50 mil­lion years ear­lier to this event, the up­lift­ing of the Ti­betan Plateau and the Hi­malayan moun­tains halted rain­fall clouds en­ter­ing cen­tral Asia from the south, wip­ing out much the re­gion's plant life.

Ge­ol­ogy, Septem­ber 12


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