Mediterranean Dystopia

A curiosity for those fascinated about dystopias. Starting in 1929, Herman Sörgel spent decades defending his Atlantropa Project, intended to shrink by 30% the area of the Mediterranean Sea by damming the Strait of Gibraltar, allowing natural evaporation to drawdown the Sea level, and exposing new inhabitable land (former submarine continental shelf). Thus, the project aimed at reproducing what nature did 5 million years earlier during the Messinian Salinity Crisis. Sörgel sought to control the inflow of Atlantic seawater to generate electricity, and he imagined the Nile irrigating part of the Sahara. Crazy stuff.
Needless to say, today we know that the hypersalinisation of the Med would take place in historical time-scales, and that the impact on global climate would be more than significant, to cite only two obvious issues with this idea.

Pre-WWII videos on the Atlantropa Project, including the imaginary collapse of a 
projected dam across the Strait of Gibraltar (see caption in Youtube for credits).


More info in Wikipedia.
And some recent (scientific?) sequels of Atlantropa:
  • R.B. Cathcart, "What if We Lowered the Mediterranean Sea?", Speculations in Science and Technology, 8: 7-15 (1985).
  • R.B. Cathcart, "Mitigative Anthropogeomorphology: a revived 'plan' for the Mediterranean Sea Basin and the Sahara", Terra Nova: The European Journal of Geosciences, 7: 636-640 (1995).
  • Update: Gower (2015), "A sea surface height control dam at the Strait of Gibraltar"