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Study digs for climate history beneath Dead Sea

By Nairita Das
|

Washington, Dec 24 (ANI): Tel Aviv University is heading an international study that for the first time will dig deep beneath the Dead Sea, 500 meters (about a third of a mile) down under 300 meters (about a fifth of a mile) of water.

Drilling with a special rig, the researchers will look back in time to collect a massive amount of information about climate change and earthquake patterns.

The study, led by Prof. Zvi Ben-Avraham of Tel Aviv University's Minerva Dead Sea Research Center, "aims to get a complete record in unprecedented resolution - at one year intervals - of the last 500 thousand years."

Looking at the core sample to be dug about five miles offshore near Ein Gedi, the researchers hope to pinpoint particular years in Earth history to discover the planet's condition. They'll be able to see what the climate was like 365,250 years ago, for instance, or determine the year of a catastrophic earthquake.

This is by far the largest Earth sciences study of its kind in Israel. The evidence will help the world's climatologists calibrate what they know about climate change from other geological samples - and may lead to better predictions of what's in store for Middle East weather. For example, are currently increasing dry and hot periods in the region something new, or are they part of some larger cyclical pattern? What they find should also shed light on earthquake patterns - important information for Israelis, Jordanians and Palestinians who live on or around the fault line that passes through the Dead Sea region.

"The sediments provide an 'archive' of the environmental conditions that existed in the area in its geological past," Ben-Avraham said.

While the sample being collected isn't as deep as oil explorers drill to look for oil, the core will be something special: it will be kept in an unbroken piece so that records can be traced more accurately. (ANI)

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