The project, in which researchers from the Fredy and Nadine Herrmann Institute of Earth Sciences at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem were involved, opens a window into the climatic and seismic history of the Dead Sea over the past hundreds of thousands of years.
The project discovered that about 125,000 years ago, the lake had dried up almost completely as a result of climate change. This finding arouses worry about the present status of the Dead Sea – the lowest place on earth -- in which human intervention is causing acceleration of the drying-up process.
A special rig was brought to Israel for the purposes of the drilling project, including equipment to bring up sediment samples from beneath the lake floor. The drilling was done from November 2010 until March 2011 in two areas: in the center of the lake at a depth of 300 meters and near the Ein Gedi shore.
The drilling was done under the auspices of the International Continental Drilling Program (ICDP) under the direction of Prof. Mordechai Stein of the Geological Survey of Israel and the Hebrew University and Prof. Zvi Ben-Avraham of Tel Aviv University, with support from the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities.
Other partners in the project were researchers from the Hebrew University’s Fredy and Nadine Herrmann Institute of Earth Sciences: Prof. Amotz Agnon, Prof. Yehouda Enzel, Prof. Boaz Lazar and Prof. Yigal Erel.
The Dead Sea is a salt lake located in a deep tectonic depression – the Dead Sea basin -- in which the loss of water is only through evaporation. The lake behaves like a large water gauge of its watershed. The Jordan River and the Arava stream transport sediments and waters from north and south that reflect the environmental conditions in the Mediterranean and desert climate zones.
Over the past hundreds of thousand of years, the lake accumulated information on the hydrological–climate conditions in these regions. Moreover, the reconstruction of climates of the past are relevant to human history since the Dead Sea basin is located along a major route for pre-historic man on his way out of Africa.
The sediments that were drilled and recovered from the floor of the Dead Sea contain the information that enables us to reconstruct the climatic conditions that existed here and even in more distant areas such as the Arabian and Sahara deserts, said Stein.
A preliminary analysis of the drilled cores discovered, at a depth of 250 meters below the lake floor (and 550 meters below the lake surface), thick sequences of salt covered by rock pebbles that indicate a period when the lake retreated and nearly dried up. These sequences are overlain by marly (muddy) sediments that indicate, conversely, an enhanced input of freshwater to the lake and wetter climate conditions in the watershed.
Today, the Dead Sea is at a level of 426 meters below sea level and sinking rapidly. The evaporation of the lake in the past should be a warning sign for us now in terms of a possible drying up in the future, say the scientists. Whereas in the past, forces of natural climate change brought about a refilling on the sea through drainage of waters coming into the basin, this cannot happen as long as the waters of the Jordan River are diverted by its neighboring states.For further information:
Jerry Barach | Hebrew University of Jerusalem
NASA finds newly formed tropical storm lan over open waters
17.10.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
The melting ice makes the sea around Greenland less saline
16.10.2017 | Aarhus University
University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event
On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...
Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.
Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....
Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).
When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...
Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.
How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...
Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.
It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...
17.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
18.10.2017 | Materials Sciences
18.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
18.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy