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Desert crops, Arabia
Fossil water or paleowater is groundwater that has remained sealed underground in an aquifer for a long time. Water can stay in these deep stores for thousands or even millions of years. When changes in the surrounding geology seal the aquifer off so that they can’t be topped up anymore by rainfall, the water becomes trapped within. Now in many areas this ancient water is being tapped to grow crops in desert environments that could otherwise never support agriculture. But it is a finite resource, and it’s being used up quickly; once these aquifers have been drained they will never refill. Crops grown in the desert are often watered using hoses that turn around a central pivot, creating the characteristic round fields seen here.
Welcome to the Anthropocene is a website designed to improve our collective understanding of humanity's impact on Earth. It combines insights from some of the leading scientific research institutions on global sustainability with powerful imagery to help visualize and better understand humanity's geographic imprint in recent time.