Godpyre: The Cosmology of North African Paleovolcanism (cont.)
By R. Avry Wilson @2005-2006
What circumstances would lead to incorporations into African-based myths?
People naturally inhabit a region that can support their basic survival needs. The majority of a population subjected to extreme conditions will tend to move on to ‘greener pastures’, while only a select few and hardier types will remain dedicated to staying on. (Two prime examples of the latter individuals would be the Inuit and Bedouin tribes.) Since the focal question here involves northeastern Africa we need to look at the paleoclimatological history of that region and those directly related to it, namely the whole of northern Africa. By doing so migration routes can be traced in general form.
LGM (Last Glacial Maximum)
Approximately 19,000 years ago the Earth as whole experienced a top-out of cooler temperatures accompanied by heightened aridity. In northern Africa, the Sahara was as much a dry and sandy land as it is today, but more so. As Figure.1 shows, populations would naturally have moved in a southerly direction – away from the arid conditions in the north. Archaeological work done in the area of Lake Chad reveals an increase in population in west-central Africa where water resources were more abundant, practically standing out as a sort of focal meeting place on the continent. Meanwhile in east-central Africa a large portion of the Ethiopian region also seems to have survived from hyper-arid conditions, seemingly standing out as a sea-sized oasis. This was obviously helped along by the extensive mountain ranges found here. It also supports the idea that humans would have naturally migrated toward it, and in due course would have run into (or had continued to live among) a volcanically active area. Of special interest are the Bayuda Volcano Field (BVF) and Meidob Volcano Field (MVF), which will be discussed shortly. Since cooler and dryer situations verily force human migrations away from them, they also result in greater population density in and around volcanism – at least in the case of eastern Africa. At this point it is appropriate to note that such geologic activity has been continuous for hundreds of thousands of years (as have alterations in climate compelling migrations into or through such areas) so there would be a vastly ancient history of human experience with these phenomena. Over the course of the next few thousand years this climatic trend began to change with the advent of slightly warmer conditions. These in turn led to a change in the north African environment, that is, to a wetter one, supplemented by slow migrations away from the humid African outposts. Nevertheless, a more comfortable living situation still had not developed overall. It would take a noticeable event later on to set this in motion. In geological terms a rapid change was on the horizon which would thrust our planet out of the glacial age into what we now know as the Holocene Era.