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Comprehensive scientific drilling in the Dead Sea

In the heart of the Dead Sea, drilling has begun at the bottom of the lake, with the aim of pulling out a thin, vertical slice of soil half a kilometer long - a depth cut of the layers of sediment that have accumulated at the bottom of the Dead Sea over the past hundreds of thousands of years.

Sinkhole in the Dead Sea. Photographed by Eliezer Schwartz, Jerusalem. From: Wikipedia
Sinkhole in the Dead Sea. Photographed by Eliezer Schwartz, Jerusalem. From: Wikipedia

The initiative is headed by the winner of the Israel Prize, Prof. Zvi Ben-Abraham, who heads the Minerva Center for Dead Sea Research at Tel Aviv University and is a member of the National Academy of Sciences. The largest scientific drilling project in Israel is underway. In the heart of the Dead Sea, drilling has begun at the bottom of the lake, with the aim of pulling out a thin, vertical slice of soil half a kilometer long - a depth cut of the layers of sediment that have accumulated at the bottom of the Dead Sea over the past hundreds of thousands of years. This geological treasure bloom, which will be only a few centimeters thick, will for the first time give researchers a physical chronology of half a million years of the region's climatic history in a fraction of a few years, as well as a continuous record of the earthquakes during this time period.

The main sponsor of the project is ICDP - an international association of countries that conducts scientific drilling twice a year at selected sites around the world. The Israeli National Academy of Sciences is leading the project, with the support of the Tamar Regional Council, after Israel was chosen last year to conduct drilling in the Dead Sea. The Israeli company that was chosen to carry out the project in Israel is "Moti Gonen Maritime Works and Diving".

The drilling, whose total cost is expected to be 2.5 million dollars, is being carried out in regional cooperation between Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority as well as Germany, Switzerland, Norway, Japan and the United States. The project is headed by Israel Prize laureate Prof. Zvi Ben-Abraham, who heads the Minerva Center for Dead Sea Research at Tel Aviv University and is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, and Dr. Moti Stein from the Geological Institute in Jerusalem. The project manager is Dr. Michael Lazar from the University of Haifa.

Prof. Ben-Abraham was shocked when he saw the final preparations on the drilling rig, moments before it was towed to a distance of seven kilometers from Ein Gedi beach. "The section that the drilling will produce will allow us to know that 266,324 years ago, for example, there was a rainy year", he explained enthusiastically.

The vertical slice that comes out of the ground will allow researchers to know when there were dust storms, floods, earthquakes, dry years, as well as the amount of precipitation that fell each year: "Because the Dead Sea is such a low place, it has a huge drainage basin, bigger than Israel - from the Golan Heights Sinai Committee. That's why all the rains in the space affect its level. It turns out that the Dead Sea is very unique in that the sedimentary rocks that sink into it are sensitive to the level, so you can tell when the level was low," says Prof. Ben-Abraham. According to him, "We will be able to see what happened to the climate here without human intervention in the last hundreds of thousands of years, and if these changes are related to the solar cycle, for example. We will follow four ice ages. It's just unbelievable."

The research may also have implications for historical research, says Prof. Ben-Abraham. According to him, "perhaps we can confirm through this events that are mentioned in the Bible". The director of the project, Dr. Michael Lazar, adds that the dating of earthquakes may be effective for deepening the understanding of the migration processes of Homo sapiens: "When man left Africa, the Dead Sea region was his route. According to the theory, the exodus from Africa occurred in several pulses. If it is possible to make a correlation between the late departures from Africa and climatic changes or earthquakes, we may be able to discover interesting connections here."

Yesterday, seven helmet-wearing young Americans from Salt Lake City, Utah - employees of the American Dusk company who came to Israel to handle the executive side of the project - walked along the Ein Gedi beach. The American workers brought the drilling rig with them to Israel from Turkey, where the company's last work was carried out.

The manager of the staff who work for him Marshall and his staff members have already spent many months in minus 40 degrees in Siberia, visited Lake Putrok Aika in Argentina and Lake Van in Turkey, and now they are here in the Dead Sea. Due to budget constraints, they only have 40 days to complete the task; "We work 12-hour shifts, two shifts a day, 7 days a week, but I have no problem with that," Marshall said.

Under the rig's crane, which is carried to a height of nine meters, the piles of pipes that will be used to remove the soil samples from the bottom of the lake were placed in advance. The iron pipes will be laid to a depth of 300 meters to the bottom of the lake and then pushed into the ground to a depth of at least another 500 meters; Plastic tubes will be slipped into them, in which the sediment samples will be confined.

The samples will be kept for a short period in Ein Gedi and then sent to a special laboratory at the University of Bremen, Germany, where they will be kept at a temperature of 4 degrees Celsius and will be tested by dozens of researchers from universities in Israel, as well as from Columbia University (New York), GFZ Institute (Potsdam, Germany) ETH University in Zurich and more.

Prof. Ben-Abraham says that researchers "from China to California are interested in research - people who deal with the climate, people who deal with chemistry and geochemistry, the physics of rocks, the magnetic field of the earth. It's a whole world. We have people from eight different disciplines that are related to the subject of earth science. This is the biggest thing in earth sciences since the establishment of the state."

6 תגובות

  1. "Jew", according to the Torah the world has existed for almost 5800 years, maybe you should study Judaism..
    Besides, that you use a little of what God has given you - reason, and not just the axioms you decided to accept.

  2. BSD
    Abomination!!
    How is it possible that humans left Africa more than 5000 years ago if the world as a whole has only existed for 5136 years
    According to the Torah??

  3. Not a slice will come out of the drilling but a cylinder (which of course can be sliced). Hebrew gentlemen, Hebrew.
    And not true again. This is the first time I have sent such a response, but probably many have sent a response like this or similar

  4. Not a slice will come out of the drilling but a cylinder (which of course can be sliced). Hebrew gentlemen, Hebrew.

  5. Sounds very interesting and will surely be enlightening.
    I really hope that someone there will look at the microbiology in the depth of the layers.
    I received my doctorate from the University of Bremen and I know a little about the people who work there. Professional people by all accounts with abilities and budgets that will certainly allow getting the best out of the samples.
    Only one thing I didn't like: the preservation at four degrees. Microbiological samples will vary on a size scale of a few days. I know researchers who took a sample from a certain environment and kept it at four degrees for a year. Then when they had the time and the budget they started working on the sample. The thing is terrible to me - life has all changed from the original environment to the time of the test itself. 4 degrees is very bad. Minus 4 degrees can be fine for a few months. It is advisable to work with minus 80. In any case, it is likely that most of the biological tests will be at the genome level and only few if any will try to grow bacteria in the laboratory. That's why 4 degrees has no meaning - it can only be harmful.

    Greetings friends,
    Ami Bachar

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