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This just struck me as so bizarre, a desert in central europe of all places, I mean in Poland, which is so green normally!

Błędów Desert (Polish: Pustynia Błędowska) is an area of sands between Błędów (part of Dąbrowa Górnicza in Upper Silesian Metropolitan Union) and the village of Klucze in Poland. The area lies mainly on the Silesian Highlands in the Silesian Voivodeship. Area 32 km².

The Bledowska Sands are the largest (in Central Europe) accumulation of loose sand away from any sea, deposited thousands of years ago by a melting glacier. The appearance of a desert landscape has been created since the Middle Ages, as an accidental effect of mining (zinc, silver, coal), but the specific geological structure has been of big importance - the average thickness of the sand layer is about 40 meters (maximum 70 meters), which made the fast and deep drainage very easy. In the recent years the sands have started to shrink. The phenomenon of mirages has been known to exist there.[citation needed]



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Błędów_Desert

During the Second World War the area was used by the German Afrika Korps for training and testing equipment before deployment in Africa.





 

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Great Ape Project
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AFAIK it one of only two deserts in EU (another one being in Spain) if not in whole Europe.

Unfortunately, it's being forested for few decades, so only tiny part of the desert from before 50 years survived to this time :(

The desert is anthropogenic (caused by intensive mining through centuries), so people are restoring what they devastated long time ago. Another thing is that the desert would have probably bigger value as tourist attraction than as source of wood :lol:


^^ Rough max. extent of the desert short after 2WW.

The current area occupied by the desert is some 10% of the maximal area occupied by sands 60 years ago (shrunk from 150 km2 to some 20 km2 of the northern located semi-savannah). Groundwater level raised significantly and now there are actions being undertaken to fight the bushes and new trees there :nuts:


That's how the southern part of the former desert looks today. You can see chimney of the "Katowice" ironworks on the horizon:


:(




Almost sandstorm: ;)
 

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Thanks for this thread, definitely interesting place!

Desert is area which receives too little precipitation to sustain rich plant life. So term "desert" is rather about climate and not soil. Bledow desert receives normal amounts of precipitation, just the water quickly seeps deeper.

Bledow Desert is unique anyway, call whatever you like :D But it is not the only one deserted area north from Alps. See Stora Alvaret in Oland, Sweden:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/kennyhindgren/4912170687/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/staalen/2652413732/

Conistone desert in Yorkshire, United Kingdom:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/stevemg/3058436428/
 

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Slowinski National Park in Poland looks more alike as a desert ;)











...which is actually one of the biggest area of moving dunes in Europe :)
 
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