— Dead Sea, Israel,
March 18, 2010 —
March 31, 2010 – Some photos from the first day
of a two-day Dead Sea field trip for members of the International Conference
on Radium and Radon Isotopes as Environmental Tracers, sponsored by the Israeli
Institute for Advanced Studies, the Israel Science Foundation and USA's National
Science Foundation. Meetings were held at Hebrew University in Jerusalem
and followed by a working field-trip to the Dead Sea.
Dr. Aaron J. Beck, Assistant Professor of Marine
Science at VIMS.
If there's something to climb, Aaron will be on it. Immediately.
near Mineral Beach. During the past 30 years more than
2000 sinkholes have developed
along the western coast of the Dead Sea.
These sinkholes occur when deeply buried
layers of salt dissolve.
view, plus a glimpse of the Dead Sea. Jordan lies on the opposite shore.
Hiking down to the beach.
It was a long way. The surface of the Dead Sea is over 400 meters (1,300 feet) BELOW
It is the lowest place on the surface of the Earth.
Parched soil, with a geological hammer for scale
Dr. Boaz Lazar, from the Institute of Earth Sciences at Hebrew University in
One of two conference organizers.
area of exposed Holocene (10,000 years ago to the present day) sediment
to the Dead Sea shoreline.
van Beek from Observatoire Midi-Pyrénées in Toulouse takes a look.
Here's a closer view.
Even closer, with a geological hammer for scale.
Dead Sea has some of the most saline water on earth;
as much as 35% of the water
is dissolved salts.
Sulfidic-rich springs discharge into the sea from various
sites along the shoreline.
You can see the color shift in the water due to the
difference in chemistry before mixing.
of the same with a particularly good view of Jordan on the opposite shore.
No fish live in
the Dead Sea.
Few life-forms, other than certain bacteria, can survive in such
a harshly saline environment.
sea was a rich and brilliant blue-green. It almost glowed.
back to the road
Yishai Weinstein, faculty member of Social Sciences, Department of Geography,
Ramat-Gan, Israel. Yishai was a co-organizer of the Conference, working closely
Together, they did a stellar job!
Masada plain. This was an amazing place! And we CLIMBED it!
Masada plain extends between the valleys of Nahal (Wadi) Ze'elim and Nahal Mor.
(If you really care, find a map.)
is composed mainly of lacustrine and alluvial sediments deposited in the Dead
during the late Pleistocene era. Or so I'm told.
were two members of our three-man (armed) security team.
They shadowed our group
wherever we went.
absolutely loved this place.
light was particularly nice because it was late afternoon.
weren't kidding when they told us we needed to climb (and climb!) to get to a
The two white vans below belonged to our group.
climbing. These were two of the security guys.
spread out along the way.
it was getting late.
clouds were building and moving in quickly. A beautiful sight, but a bit worrisome.
down in the rain would have been tough going because the soil (mostly gypsum)
was very soft. We beat the rain.
last site of the day, a potash factory.
Sea water is very rich in minerals such as sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium
with associated chloride and sulfate. Or so I'm told.
factory extracts potassium for use in fertilizer.
final view before leaving
fitting end to a wonderful day!
— Click here for Jerusalem
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