Sculptures in the Demerara Desert
The Demerara Desert
|Sights||Sculptures of sand|
Demerara Desert, The. Most deserts are wide, flat tracts of land rendered largely deficient in vegetation by lack of water except in places where underground springs favour the development of oases.
Deserts are divided according to their nature into rocky, sandy, salty of sweet deserts. The Demerara Desert, a mixed desert of the latter category consists of Precambrian shell limestone, Early Zamonian lava flour, and prehistoric sugar with a thermal value of 55,000 calories per cubic yard. The sugar derives from an expanse of wild sugar cane which thousands of years of exposure to sunlight has concentrated into pure, crystalline cane sugar. The basic consistent of the Demerara Desert is a sweetish-tasting carbohydrate, soluble in water and alcohol but not in ether, which forms osazones when mixed with phenylhydrazine. These, depending on the number of carbon atoms in the molecule, may be trioses, tetroses, pentoses, hexoses, heptoses, octoses, or nonoses.
Because of the baking properties of their staple material, the Demerara Desert's surface formations are far more diverse and bizarre than those of other deserts. The wind, which both accumulates sugar dust and disperses it, makes a major contribution to the Demerara Desert's sculptural appearance. It can pick up sugar, transports it through the air for many miles, and add it to an existing sugar sculpture, only to erode parts of the formation a few hours later. Thus the outward appearance of the Demerara Desert changes continuously and far more dramatically than that of other deserts. If the air is moist enough and the wind strong enough, they can produce works of art that would turn any sculptor green with envy.
The fanciful appearance of this expanse of desert has always attracted adventurers, gamblers and other rootless individuals who prefer disorder to order. Many have gone off into the Demerara Desert to seek their fortune, but very few have ever returned, and many of those that did were in a state of mental derangement.
The German original name for the desert is actually Süße Wüste, meaning Sweet Desert. However, in translation, it became Demerara. Showing the genius of the translator, Demerara is actually a region in South Africa famous for its sugar.