Friday, February 29, 2008

How Sinkholes are formed at the Dead Sea

We have/will be guiding in the Dead Sea area and among the most common issues is the lowering of the sea level - we can point to the receding shoreline at the Ein Gedi Spa, the Lido Hotel now far removed from the shoreline and sinkholes.

I have just noticed a short item from a journal abstact explaining the phenomenon.

http://www.cosis.net/abstracts/EGU2008/06209/EGU2008-A-06209-1.pdf?PHPSESSID=

Numerous sinkholes have appeared in alluvial fans and other unconsolidated
sediments along the coastlines of the Dead Sea (DS) in Israel and
Jordan. There are two principal competitive geological models explaining sinkhole
development: (a) the piping model and (b) the salt dissolution model. The
latter is accepted today as being the main mechanism of sinkhole formation.

The salt dissolution model requires the simultaneous existence of three factors: (1) a
salt layer within the uppermost subsurface, (2) unsaturated groundwater in the
vicinity of the salt layer, and (3) fractures or faults capable of conducting the unsaturated
water into the salt layer and removing of the brine from the dissolved
cavity


Yet another, and perhap simpler explanation was found on the Israel 21C website
http://www.israel21c.org/bin/en.jsp?enDispWho=Articles%5El1400&enPage=BlankPage&enDisplay=view&enDispWhat=object&enVersion=0&enZone=Democracy

Sinkholes are a product of environmental degradation at the Dead Sea. As the water level drops, freshwater washes out mineral pockets underground. Over time, the freshwater melts the materials inside, generating surface caves and meters-wide craters which can trap people and animals and damage nearby highways, hotels and factories.

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