Oasis: Wikis

  
  
  
  

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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Ein-Kelt, an oasis in the Judean Desert, Israel

In geography, an oasis (plural: oases) or cienega (southwestern United States) is an isolated area of vegetation in a desert, typically surrounding a spring or similar water source. Oases also provide habitat for animals and even humans if the area is big enough.

The location of oases has been of critical importance for trade and transportation routes in desert areas. Caravans must travel via oases so that supplies of water and food can be replenished. Thus, political or military control of an oasis has in many cases meant control of trade on a particular route. For example, the oases of Awjila, Ghadames and Kufra, situated in modern-day Libya, have at various times been vital to both North-South and East-West trade in the Sahara. The word oasis came into English via Greek ὄασις oasis, borrowed directly from Egyptian wḥ3t or Demotic wḥỉ. It was not borrowed from Coptic ouaḥe (*/waħe/), as is sometimes suggested; the Greek word is attested several centuries before Coptic existed as a written language.[citation needed]

The Huacachina oasis in Ica, Peru

Oases are formed from underground rivers or aquifers such as an artesian aquifer, where water can reach the surface naturally by pressure or by man made wells. Occasional brief thunderstorms provide subterranean water to sustain natural oases, such as the Tuat. Substrata of impermeable rock and stone can trap water and retain it in pockets; or on long faulting subsurface ridges or volcanic dikes water can collect and percolate to the surface. Any incidence of water is then used by migrating birds who also pass seeds with their droppings which will grow at the water's edge forming an oasis.

Contents

Growing plants

Oasis in the Libyan part of the Sahara

People who live in an oasis must manage land and water use carefully; fields must be irrigated to grow plants like dates, figs, olives, and apricots. The most important plant in an oasis is the date palm which forms the upper layer. These palm trees provide shade for smaller trees like peach trees, which form the middle layer. By growing plants in different layers, the farmers make best use of the soil and water. Many vegetables are also grown and some cereals, such as wheat, barley and millet are grown where there is more moisture. [1]

Notable oases

Africa

Americas

Asia

Australasia

Europe

See also

Bibliography

  • (French) référence: Jardins au désert (Vincent Battesti)|Battesti (Vincent), Jardins au désert, Evolution des pratiques et savoirs oasiens, Jérid tunisien, Paris, Éditions IRD, coll. À travers champs, 2005, 440 p. ISBN 2-7099-1564-2 Open Archives: book in free access / in French

References

External links


1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

OASIS (Gr. 6avcs, the name given by Herodotus to the fertile spots in the Libyan desert: it probably represents an Egyptian word, cf. Coptic ouahe, ouih, to dwell, from which the Egyptian Arabic wa is derived), a fertile spot surrounded by desert. For example, where the high plateau of the Libyan desert descends into a longitudinal valley between Syrtis and the Nile delta there are a few spots where the water comes to the surface or is found in shallow wells. It may come to the surface in springs, upon the artesian principle, or it may collect and remain in mountain hollows. These areas are of small extent and are closely cultivated, and support thick forests of date-palms. All kinds of tropical vegetables, grains and small fruits grow under cultivation, and land is so precious in these limited areas of great richness and fertility that very narrow pathways divide each owner's plot from his neighbour's. Wherever oases are found they present similar features, and are naturally the halting-places and points of departure of desert caravans.


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Simple English

For the band of the same name see Oasis (band) [[File:|right|thumb|Oasis in the Libyan part of the Sahara]]

File:Peru Ica Oasis
The Huacachina oasis in Ica, Peru

In geography an oasis is an isolated place in the desert where there is vegetation. Most often, this occurs around a source of water, a spring or a well. Oases provide a habitat for animals, sometimes even for humans.

The knowledge of the location of oases has been of critical importance for trade and transportation routes in desert areas. Caravans must travel via oases so that supplies of water and food can be refilled. Thus, political or military control of an oasis has in many cases meant control of trade on a particular route. For example, the oases of Awjila, Ghadames and Kufra, situated in modern-day Libya, have at various times been vital to both North-South and East-West trade in the Sahara desert. The word oasis came into English via Greek ὄασις oasis, borrowed directly from Egyptian wḥ3t or Demotic wḥỉ. It was not borrowed from Coptic ouaḥe (*/waħe/), as is sometimes suggested; the Greek word is attested several centuries before Coptic existed as a written language.








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