The hidden presence of water
by Mariasilvia Giamberini, National Council of Research, Pisa, Italy
Water formed the sediments that deposited on the bed of the Tethis Ocean that covered the area of the Negev desert from the Jurassic to the Cretaceous, thus originating the sedimentary rocks that rose and folded under the tectonic pressure of the African and European plates.
> Water eroded the softer layers exposed after the ridges had been clipped above the sea level since the Paleocene, forming the “makhteshim”, erosion craters typical of the areas of Negev and Sinai. Water is eroding the rocks still today, when the occasional rain is sufficient to flood the entire area and to sustain life. Here is the bed of the river that “flows” (a few days per year) down the “Small Crater” (Makhtesh Ha-Katan), the smallest of three most important erosion craters of the Negev Desert, close to Dimona and to the Rift Valley that generates the depression of the Dead Sea. Even though this picture does not show a single drop of it, the presence of water dominates the landscape.
Mariasilvia Giamberini (distributed via imaggeo.egu.eu)