Tag Archive for 'dead sea'

Holy Water: A precious commodity in a region of conflict

Photo retrieved from: www.aljazeera.net

“IN ISRAEL, not far from the place where Jesus is said to have walked on water and fed thousands with just five loaves of bread and two fish, government engineers have performed a miracle of their own—they’ve made a river disappear. The Jordan River leaves the Sea of Galilee on its way to the Dead Sea in a slow laze past a series of campsites to a concrete complex, beside which white-robed pilgrims submerge themselves in its waters. From there, it pushes onward, winding through olive groves, farmers’ fields, and patches of brushwoods. Then, suddenly, it stops. At a pumping station less than three kilometers from the river’s source, five broad green pipes dip like elephant trunks to suck the water out. Beyond this point, the river has been reduced to less than 2 percent of its original flow.

The disappearance of the Jordan River, much like the area’s dropping aquifers, is a symptom of the struggle for water that has shaped the modern Middle East. The flow of a river that once irrigated the fields of the West Bank has been channeled through pipes, pumps, and canals to gush from the taps in Tel Aviv, and to “make the desert bloom” in the Negev. This diversion of water may be a technical marvel, but it’s emptying rivers and leaving critical aquifers dangerously susceptible to the intrusion of salt water and raw sewage.”

Read more: Orion Magazine


Bromine in the Dead Sea Makes Mercury Above it More Lethal

Researchers thought it only happened at the poles; new research between Israel and the US shows that bromine above the sea can make mercury way more toxic in fish.Photo retrieved from: www.greenprophet.com

“The research, led by scientist Daniel Obrist and colleagues at Nevada’s Desert Research Institute with a group of Israeli researchers at Hebrew University, found that mercury was concentrated into the most toxic form in the air above the Dead Sea.

The atmosphere over the Dead Sea, researchers found, is laden with oxidized mercury, a much more toxic form of Mercury than the elemental form. The finding was surprising, as such high levels of oxidized mercury have only been found at the polar regions.

“We’ve found near-complete depletion of elemental mercury – and formation of some of the highest oxidized mercury levels ever seen – above the Dead Sea, a place where temperatures reach 45 degrees Celsius,” Obrist noted.

The findings are a concern because oxidized mercury threatens the food supply more readily than the elemental form. That is because, once oxidized in what scientists call elemental mercury depletion events – it is then readily deposited on a surface such as the ocean, and can then find its way into the food chain.”

Read more: Green Prophet

Jordan River could die by 2011: report

“The once mighty Jordan River, where Christians believe Jesus was baptised, is now little more than a polluted stream that could die next year unless the decay is halted, environmentalists said on Monday.

“More than 98 percent of the river’s flow has been diverted by Israel, Syria and Jordan over the years.

“The remaining flow consists primarily of sewage, fish pond water, agricultural run-off and saline water,” the  from Israel, Jordan and the West Bank said in the report to be presented in Amman on Monday.

“Without concrete action, the LJR (lower Jordan River) is expected to run dry at the end of 2011.”

read more: PhysOrg