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Foreseeing Dead Sea Sinkholes from the Sky

Foreseeing Dead Sea Sinkholes from the Sky

August 9, 2012

Natural Sciences

Haaretz — According to Geological Survey of Israel, several hundred sinkholes appear every year near the Dead Sea, some of them as large as nearly 40 feet in diameter and over 65 meters deep.

A team of scientists, including Prof. Yehuda Eyal and Ph.D. student Ran Nof from the BGU’s Department of Environmental Science, are now using an Italian sattelite system to improve their ability to predict where and when sinkholes will form.

deadseasinkhole_300pxThe technology should give them a few months’ notice before a sinkhole actually appears.

The goal is to make the area safer for visitors to Dead Sea resorts and the people who live and work in the area. Sinkholes have already destroyed some of Kibbutz Ein Gedi’s tourism facilities and continue to threaten drivers on Route 90, the main road that lines the Dead Sea.

The root of the problem is the fact that the Dead Sea is receding.

When the sea’s water recedes, fresh water flows into the underground layer of salt that the sea once covered. The fresh water dissolves and creates a large underground cavities which eventually collapse into itself.

Read more about Dead Sea sinkholes >>