Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The Flow Towards Europe

Mapping the Frenzy of Europe's Migrant Crisis

The sheer scale of this migrant crisis has rocked the world and left European Union leaders grappling for solutions.

Only a small fraction of refugees fleeing their homes make it to Europe. The UN has registered four million Syrian refugees in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Egypt and North Africa. Most of them live in refugee camps close to the border. They would fit on 59 soccer fields.


  • Greece reported roughly 10,000 asylum-seekers a day arriving from Turkey. 
  • Around 680,400 people arrived in Europe just this year from crisis regions.
  • By the end of  015, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Sweden, the Netherlands, and Finland expect a total of 1.3 million asylum applications.
  • Syria has overtaken all other countries in refugee volume.

Article >

Amazing interactive motion map shows flows of refugees seeking asylum 

Interactive Map >

Each dot represents 25 to 50 people, depending on the device you use

Friday, October 16, 2015

Polynesia - Visual Quick Study

About 4,000 years ago, Austronesian speakers migrated eastward from the Asian mainland to in the area referred to as Near or Western Oceania. The subsequent expansion of these Austronesians into Eastern Oceania began around 1200 BC and led to the colonization of the islands in the eastern Pacific Ocean. This expansion ended with the settlement and colonization of New Zealand around 1250 AD.

Melanesia, Polynesia and Micronesia

Polynesian Migration Maps

 ^This is a great site ^

Pacific Currents

Austronesian Language

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Black Sea Pollution

Black Sea by Neal Ascherson 
A bit tedious and long-winded, nevertheless this book covers the broad span of 3,000 years and really goes into depth about the myriad of jumbled ethnicities and the reasons behind the never-ending wars in the region. The last chapter really nails the ecological havoc the area is currently facing and is the best read of the whole book.

The Black Sea Watershed

Currents and river delta sediment discharge


Due to the unique geography and ecosystem of the Black Sea, the current level of water pollution exceeds the ecosystem’s assimilation capability and is in grave danger.

For decades, a uniquely high river discharge into the Black Sea diluted its salinity consequently reducing its biodiversity but ironically simultaneously supplied sea vegetation with unusually high amount of nutrients, providing its fast proliferation and high biomass. 

As detailed in an earlier posting, this in essence created a dead layer of water on the bottom and a thin layer of cleaner but vulnerable life-sustaining water on the surface.

The intense pollution by the surrounding countries that has now being going on for many decades has taken a heavy toll on the whole ecosystem. Under the current bad environmental conditions, more than 160 million people in Bulgaria, Ukraine, Russian Federation, Romania and Turkey are exposed to danger.  

Anually more than 100 000 tons of sewage, tens of thousands tons of oil products, tens of thousands tons of toxic heavy metals (copper, lead, cadmium, etc.) enter the sea.

 Increased shipping of crude oil has added to the pollution problem
The sea is slowly dying...
The combination of pollutants and overfishing has devastated the fishing industry.

Most of the maps and graphics above are Sourced from GRID-Arendal in collaboration with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP),  Please visit their site for further Info

Saturday, October 3, 2015

The Black Sea

Did You Know?

  • Nearly 90% of the 700-mile-long, up to one-and-a-half-mile-deep Black Sea is considered a zero-oxygen “dead zone”—containing more poisonous hydrogen sulfide than any other water body in the world.
  • Three layers of water exist in the Black Sea: (1) The top layer of oxygen-rich surface waters supporting life in the sea constitute only about 13% of the Black Sea volume. (2) Below that is a very thin layer where the top and bottom layers mix; and  (3) The bottom layer—found at a depth greater than 150 -200 meters—consists of a permanent hydrogen sulphide zone devoid of life.  Oxygen is completely absent at this level.
  • The Bosphorus Straits has two currents flowing in the opposite direction! (1) The upper flow leaves the Black Sea and carries cooler and less saline surface water out of it. (2) The bottom flow carries heavier salt water from the Mediterranean to the Black Sea. 
  • Black Sea tide is almost imperceptible. It reaches scarcely 10 cm in height.

Black Sea Water Layers

The Black Sea is connected to the Mediterranean through the narrow and winding Bosphorus Straits. This complex natural system makes the replenishment of seawater in the Black Sea very slow. Every year the Black Sea receives more fresh water from rivers flowing into the Black Sea than it loses from evaporation. Due to this, the surface waters are less salty hence less dense and “float on the top”.

The slow replenishment and the bad mixing of waters does not provide enough oxygen for the normal process of marine decomposition and the bacteria in the lower layers use it up entirely. Consequently the Black Sea is virtually dead below a depth of about 180 meters. Moreover the metabolism of some bacteria generates hydrogen sulphide, a soluble poisonous gas associated with the smell of rotten eggs. A dangerous level of hydrogen sulphide is present in the entire lower layer of seawater in the Black Sea.

Diagrams of the two main layers of water
The relative lack of micro-organisms and oxygen in the lower level has allowed deep-sea expeditions to recover ancient human artifacts, such as boat hulls and the remains of settlements. Large amounts of organic material reach the bottom of the sea and accumulate in the sediments.

Why is it called the Black Sea?

The name may have been derived from the color of the water at great depth or from the sea's storminess. In ancient times, heavy storms and the lack of islands made sea dark and dangerous for seafarers. Another possible explanation is due to the color of the Black Sea's deep waters. At the lower level, the unique microbial population which produces black sediments and visibility is on average approximately five meters (5.5 yd), as compared to up to thirty-five meters (38 yd) in the Mediterranean.

The World's "Sixth-Largest River" 

The opposing currents of the Bosphorus as described above has been rechristened as the world's "Sixth-Largest River”. In 2010, a British team from Leeds University used a robotic submarine to scan the seabed near Turkey. This undersea river, up to 115 feet deep in places, carries a volume of water 10 times greater than Europe's biggest river, the Rhine. Traveling at a brisk 4 mph, this underwater river creates flood plains and is carving out channels much like a river on the land,.

Color-augmented 3-D Radar Images

Asteroid Danger?

There have been isolated reports of flares on the Black Sea occurring during thunderstorms, possibly caused by lighting igniting combustible gas seeping up from the lake depths.

Modeling shows the release of the hydrogen sulphide clouds in the event of an asteroid impact into the Black Sea would pose a threat to health—or even life—for people living on the Black Sea coast.



Yalta Castle

Crimean Coast

Crimean Mountains

Danube River Delta

Kerch Strait

Additional Maps

Relief Map
Satellite View
Watershed and Major Rivers

Friday, October 2, 2015

Visual Quick Study: The History of Crimea thru Maps

The Crimean Peninsula has a colorful history and has been a hotly contested area throughout history. It has been conquered and settled by a large number of varied cultures.

11th century BC to the 2nd century AD

The recorded history of the Crimean Peninsula, begins around the 5th century BC when several Greek colonies were established along its coast. The southern coast remained Greek in culture for almost two thousand years as part of the Roman Empire (47 BC -330 AD), and its successor states, the Byzantine Empire (330 AD - 1204 AD), the Empire of Trebizond (1204 AD - 1461 AD), and the independent Principality of Theodoro (ended 1475 AD). 

Greek Colonies  
7th to 5th century BCE.

Bosporan Kingdom
38 BC- 370 AD

- Invasion of the Goths in the 2nd century AD -

(Approximately 500 C.E. to 800 C.E. )

850 C.E. to 965 C.E.



Wikipedia Article >

Empire of Trebizond 
Approximately 1300s

Principality of Theodoro
Early 14th century–1475

In the 13th century, although some port cities were controlled by the Venetians and by the Genovese (see above) -- the Crimean interior was much less stable . The interior endured a long series of conquests and invasions; by the early medieval period it had been settled by Scythians, Greeks, Romans, Goths, Huns, Bulgars, Khazars and others. 

Mongol Invasion 

In the summer of 1238, Batu Khan devastated the Crimea

In the medieval period, it was acquired partly by Kievan Rus', but fell to the Mongol invasions as part of the Golden Horde. They were followed by the Crimean Khanate and the Ottoman Empire, which conquered the coastal areas as well, in the 15th to 18th centuries.

Crimean Khanate
1449 - 1773

Ottoman Empire

The Novorossiysk Governorate ("New Russia") was established in 1764

The modern history of Crimea begins with the annexation by the Russian Empire in 1783. In 1921 the Crimean Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic was created. This republic was dissolved in 1945, and the Crimea became an oblast first of the Russian SSR (1945-1954) and then the Ukrainian SSR (1954-1991). 
Crimean Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic

Languages Spoken in the Crimean Peninsula

Since 1991 the territory was covered by the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol City within independent Ukraine. During the 2014 Crimean crisis, independence was declared and a referendum on whether to join Russia was held. The peninsula subsequently was annexed to the Russian Federation as two federal subjects (1) the Republic of Crimea and (2) the federal city of Sevastopol.