A couple of days ago I posted on the possible discovery of a fiant underground lake in the Darfur region of Sudan. Acording to scientist Alain Gachet, however, the lake may have actually dried up millennia ago
In his view the area received too little rain and had the wrong rock types for water storage. On Wednesday, Boston University's Farouk El-Baz said he had received the backing of Sudan's government to begin drilling for water in the newly-discovered lake, in North Darfur. He said radar studies had revealed a depression the size of Lake Erie in North America. But Mr Gachet, who has worked on mineral and water exploration in Africa for 20 years, said the depression identified by the Boston researchers was probably full of water 5,000 to 25,000 years ago.
"This lake was at the bottom of a broad watershed feeding the Nile above Khartoum," Gachet said "This watershed is completely dry today on the southern border of Egypt, Libya and north-western border of Sudan - one of the worst areas in the world." However he said that there was a substantial source of water further south in Darfur where he was he was helping a UN-backed project to drill for water. "There is enough water within these aquifers to bring peace in Darfur... and even more - enough to reconstruct the economy of Darfur."
An increasingly obsolete degree in Physiology and Biochemistry did not give O'Donnell a knowledge of geology so I have no idea who is right here. But if either Gachet or El-Baz is right then there is a faint possibility of eliminating one of the main sources of conflict in Darfur. Sadly the cynic does not hold its breath.