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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review

The search for Sodom and Gomorrah: Scientists drill beneath Dead Sea seeking priceless data

By Batsheva Sobelman




Rock samples underwater for eons are likely to be better preserved, researchers say. Expectations are high that the lowest place on Earth can answer questions --- on climate change and other key matters


JewishWorldReview.com |

dEAD SEA — (MCT) If you thought you couldn't get any lower than the Dead Sea, think again. You can go under it.

Scientists here are drilling 1,640 feet beneath the bottom of the Dead Sea, to a depth of more than 2,600 feet below sea level.

Rock samples that have been underwater for eons are likely to be better preserved, they say, than samples taken from under an exposed surface, which can be damaged by aridity and erosion.

As a result, the Dead Sea bore hole is expected to contain priceless information about the planet's past and to offer insight on its future. Expectations are high that the lowest place on Earth can answer questions on climate change, earthquake risk and untapped natural resources.

Since the region was mentioned in biblical contexts that include Sodom and Gomorrah, the ruins of which some scholars believe are submerged under the Dead Sea, the $2.5-million project might also crack an ancient mystery or two.

It's a massive undertaking. A unique rig was constructed and then towed more than 4 miles into the salty sea, where drilling will go on for 40 days and nights, perhaps appropriate for the region.

Forty scientists from six countries are taking part in the deep-drilling program, sponsored by the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities and the German-based International Continental Scientific Drilling Program, which conducts deep sea and lake drilling worldwide.

The samples are expected to provide a sort of tree-ring-style annual log that will enable experts to say, for example, that year X "was a very rainy year," says Zvi Ben-Avraham, head of the Minerva Dead Sea Research Center at Tel-Aviv University.

At a nearby laboratory, the rings are clearly visible through Plexiglas tubes containing the first samples. A pair of layers, brown and white, represent a normal year with a wet season and a dry one. Variations bear witness to drought, flood and trauma. "These are the pages of our history," says Amotz Agnon of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

The Dead Sea — a lake, really — is what has remained of the series of ancient bodies of water in the Jordan Valley. It fills one of Earth's deepest holes, located in a depression on the border between two tectonic plates forming part of the long Syro-African fault line. The plates are still moving. Small tremors are not infrequent, but Ben-Avraham says the region is relatively calm. The last big quake occurred in 1927.

Experts say the Dead Sea should provide invaluable historical data because the region served as a corridor through which humankind migrated from Africa.

Filled tubes are kept in a freezer outside an unassuming lab in Kibbutz Ein Gedi, in the hills above the water. Early batches have been passed through a scanner that buzzes and beeps while sending data to a computer.

More tubes lie on the floor of the lab, soon to be put through the machine. In one, a 4-inch stretch of mud reflects a century-long wet period around 400 years ago, in what is known as the Little Ice Age. Deeper samples should corroborate other documented events such as the volcanic eruption of Santorini about 3,500 years ago.

Data contained in these "archives," as Moti Stein of the Geological Survey of Israel puts it, are of global importance. The data of past relations between two climate belts, the Mediterranean and the desert, will help prepare climate models in times of global warming and desertification, Stein says.

The Dead Sea itself is as unusual as the drilling project.

Fresh water flowing into the sea is trapped; with no outflow, the only way out is up. High evaporation rates in this hot, arid zone result in extreme hyper-salinity.

The buoyancy draws tourists who come for a float. Others are attracted by the purported cosmetic and healing properties of the minerals, fabled since antiquity, or simply for the striking landscape.

But the Dead Sea is in trouble. Receding about 3 feet a year, the water, pessimists warn, could soon vanish. Stein says the lake has naturally recovered from catastrophic aridity before.

But humans are playing a role. "We're not helping," says Michael Lazar, the marine geophysicist from the University of Haifa who manages the project.

Tectonic plates aren't the only things grating against each other. There's regional politics too. The Dead Sea fills an area shared by Israel, Jordan and the Palestinians. The site's nomination for the Seven Wonders of the World competition was almost undone by conflicting political claims.

Though no Jordanian or Palestinian scientists were to be seen during a recent media tour of the site, organizers said the multinational project includes both. A project official said Arab scientists were keeping a low profile because of political sensitivities.

"The Dead Sea doesn't belong to Israel, Jordan or the Palestinians," Lazar said. "They're in, and we're happy to have them."

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