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World’s oldest termite mounds and groundwater salinity in South Africa

Although most of Namaqualand, South Africa, receives very little rainfall, there are rare, high intensity rainfall events. When these occur, termite burrows on the mound surfaces serve as water flow paths that can harvest rain and channel water into the mound. This causes the salts that built up in the mounds over thousands of years to be flushed into the groundwater system via flow paths created by the tunnelling action of termites, pushing the dissolved minerals ever deeper.

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