Nile Waters, Saharan Sands: Adventures of a Geomorphologist at Large (Springer Biographies)
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In this book, the author describes in simple, non-technical terms the adventures he has experienced during his work as an earth scientist in some of the remote parts of the arid and semi-arid world. His aim in writing this concise account of some of the work he has been involved in over the past fifty years is to try to convey to the non-specialist some of the excitement and fun involved in fieldwork in the drier regions of the world. His studies of the soils, landforms and the recent geological history of arid and semi-arid regions have taken Martin Williams to some remarkable places in Africa, Asia, Australia and the Middle East. Not only are the landscapes themselves often stunningly beautiful, but the contact with people from quite different backgrounds and cultures has been an enriching experience. His work has taken him to places far off the beaten track, whether it be the rugged mountains of Ethiopia and northern China, the sandy deserts of the Sahara and Rajasthan, or the great river valleys of Somalia, central India and the Nile. The chapters that follow are not intended to form a coherent chronological narrative, although they do appear in rough chronological order. They should rather be viewed as vignettes or brief evocative descriptions, much as in the discursive tradition of the wandering Irish storytellers. Acting on the principle that it is not necessary to be solemn to be serious, the author aims to entertain as well as to instruct.
walking along a narrow lane to the geography department in Downing Place. His successor was the effervescent Dick Chorley, whose scurrilous accounts of the great pioneers in the discipline of geomorphology had us in stitches. More seriously, he taught us basic statistics, including regression analysis from ﬁrst principles. He was later to spearhead the revolution in quantitative geomorphology based on some of the laws of elementary physics, to the delight of some and the derision of others. At
people but was murdered by Tuareg raiders from outside the region in 1916. Inside the stone hermitage at Assekrem we found a copy of Pierre Rognon’s Fig. 7.9 Faulted rock face, Aïr Mountains 7 Adrar Bous, Central Sahara (1970) 51 recently published doctoral dissertation on the geology and landforms of the Atakor, a remarkable piece of work, which I later read in detail, before unexpectedly meeting Pierre during a conference in December 1971 held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Released from
White 1981 . . . . . . . . . Figure 15.1 Rajasthan Desert, India (1983). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Figure 15.2 Village men and women who helped us excavate the deep trench near Didwana, Rajasthan Desert, India, 1983 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Figure 15.3 Using the tripod and pulley erected over the base of the deep trench near Didwana, Rajasthan Desert, India, 1983 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Figure 15.4
All this took place close to our tents so it was a noisy night, with villagers holding flaming brands of wood aloft as they searched for more of the dacoit band. On another occasion we were excavating a peculiar structure emerging from a layer of alluvial clay we knew to be about 8000 years old. There were distinct tracks of Sambur deer on the surface we were excavating (Fig. 13.6). Some of the local Bega villagers came over and said that we must take great care of the structure, because it was
spot of bother from an enraged elderly local farmer who came hurling rocks at Neil, whom he accused of trying to steal his land. I walked up to the angry old man, showed him the snail shells I wanted to collect and engaged him in conversation. I noticed that he was missing a few teeth and asked if the strains of supporting his wives had loosened his teeth, and extended my sympathy, which seemed to cheer him up. We then chatted about his family, of whom he was very proud, with two sons training to