From: Ari Daniel Shapiro, NPR Topics: Environment
Published October 29, 2012 08:44 AM

What's A Lake Doing In The Middle Of The Desert?

One place you don't expect to see waves lapping against the shore is in the middle of a desert. But that's exactly what's happening deep inside the United Arab Emirates, where a recently formed lake is nestled into the sand dunes, and a new ecosystem is emerging.


Drive through the desert in the United Arab Emirates, and all you see mile after mile are red, rolling dunes. Maybe some occasional trees or shrubs, but otherwise a dry, red sandscape.

And then, suddenly, a bright blue spot comes into view. It must be a mirage, you think. But it's not.

The water's edge comes right up to the sand, the wet and the dry, kissing. The wind whips across the blue water's surface, pushing it into a light chop. And wispy reeds in the center of the lake flutter in the breeze.

Human-Made Origins

Dave Clark, a hydrologist with the U.S. Geological Survey working in the United Arab Emirates, says this lake emerged from the sand a few years ago.

"You see local families out here and they're all just enthralled," Clark says. "It's water in the desert, so everybody's pleased. But it's definitely water that's had a human touch to it. People have had their hand in this water, maybe literally."

Article continues at NPR Topics: Environment

Image credit: Ari Daniel Shapiro for NPR

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