RE: Sumer under water?

Vandergraaf, Chuck (
Thu, 25 Jun 1998 14:03:21 -0400

Jan writes:
> "Indeed, between WWI and WWII the Zuiderzee was closed off from the
> North
> Sea bya dike. Then four polders were made in the Zuiderzee, which was
> originally an arm of the North Sea, created in the Middle Ages by the
> St.Elisabeth flood. Part of the water of the Rhine mptied in the
> Zuiderzee.
> I do not know, how that fact influence the siltiness of the soil, but from
> what I understand of the rivers in Sumer, they brought water from the
> mountains too. If that is so, then maybe the fact that the first polder
> was
> prime agricultural land after 10 to 20 years, indicates that the salt may
> not take 200 years to leach out. After WWII three more polders were
> brought
> in to production (one was poldered in before the war.) To my knowledge
> the
> silt is gone now."
It is my recollection that the original Zuider Zee was supplied by
water from the Rhine via some smaller streams (Vecht? and the river that
flows past Deventer and Zwolle). After the dike was built at the mouth of
the Zuider Zee, that body of water would have become progressively less
saline and more brackish. This would be somewhat different than along the
coast where there is a constant supply of seawater. Further south the
seawater is more saline and around Iraq I would therefore expect the silt to
be more saline initially..

Jan continues, " Zeeland (in the delta of Meuse and Rhine) was a
result of the
> St.Elisabeth flood as well.
> During WWII and again during a storm in 1953, a lot of the province was
> flooded, including the place where my father spent his youth:
> Krabbendijke.
> After a few years the land was useable again. I do not know what was used
> to get rid of the salt."
Interesting observation, Jan. The 1953 flood occurred recently
enough to be able to find answers to these questions. So should the
situation in Bangladesh.

Jan continues further: "At the present time dikes are heightened
again in The Netherlands. The
> initial reason was, that the Rhine is bringing more and more water to the
> sea. Also, the warming of the climate and the melting of the Arctic
> necessitates the heightening of the sea-dikes."
I think it is not so much that the Rhine is bringing more water into
the delta but that the French and the Germans have built dikes along the
Rhine which constrains the Rhine and prevents periodic overflowing of the
river. This results in greater fluctuations of the flow downstream. These
fluctuations used to be dampened out by periodic flooding. Sort of a garden
hose with a leak in it.

The melting of the ice in the Arctic Ocean will not raise the level
of the ocean, but melting of glaciers in N. America and Greenland will. So
would thermal expansion of the ocean water.

> Jan concludes with " (Now think of countries like
> Bangladesh, where they do not have the money to build dikes to protect
> them.
> What is the task of N.Americans in that regard? We have a high standard
> of
> living, there is poverty. The aid N.Americans give is more than consumed
> by
> the interest that poor countries are forced to pay to the rich countries.
> Do we as Christians have a task? I know that this is a totally different
> subject.)"
This is indeed a totally different subject and was touched upon at a
recent (partly sponsored by ASA) conference of Christian environmentalists
at The King's University College.

The recent decision by Ontario Hydro to lay up some of their nuclear power
generating stations and replace the electricity by coal-fired stations isn't
going to do much for the greenhouse effect (or for the air quality in the
Toronto area, for that matter!)

Chuck Vandergraaf
Pinawa, MB