Climate Research in Israel’s Dead Sea

Recent research shows evidence of truth to the Sodom and Gomorrah story. Five miles out from the shore of the Dead Sea, near to the center of that mysterious body of water, an international team of scientists from Israel, Switzerland, Germany, Norway, Japan and the United States have been drilling beneath the seabed with the hopes of digging up a record of climate change and earthquake history, which would stretch back half a million years.

Dead SeaThe 40 day project, led by Israel and bank-rolled by the International Continental Scientific Drilling Program, based in Germany, culminated in finding a wood fragment, roughly 400,000 years old and a layer of gravel from a mere 50,000 to 100,000 years ago. These findings evinced that what is now the middle of the Dead Sea was once a shore.

The objective of the experiment was to extract a geological core that might supply information of global importance on natural processes and environmental changes.

The Dead Sea, in Israel, sits in the deepest, largest basin in the world. The scientists drilled at the center because they assumed the sediment accumulated there had always been underneath the water and the better preserved for never having had exposure to the atmosphere.

The first borehole reached nearly 1,500 feet below the seabed until the drill-head actually died. That hole produced scores of plastic tubes filled with continuous segments of sediment. They will be sent to Germany for analysis.

The varying layers of mud and salt seem to represent both wet and dry periods, respectively. The gravel at the bottom was similar to what is found today on the shores of the Sinai Peninsula. While the Dead Sea’s levels have dropped, purportedly because of human intervention, the famous body of water had in history reached yet lower levels and still managed to bounce back.

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