October 2022 Virtual Meeting

Monday, October 10, 2022
6:00 - 7:30 pm

Note: ETGS members will receive an email with info for logging into the meeting.

October Presentation

Part 1 - Geologic Setting and Current State of Dead Sea
Part 2 - Masada Fortress Water Source and Roman Siege Ramp



Brian S. Murray PG, PMP



A recent trip to Israel offered the opportunity to view the Dead Sea and the former palatial fortress built by Roman King Herod termed Masada ("fortress" in Modern Hebrew).

The Dead Sea is a unique type of basin within an active rift zone and the location of the well-known hypersaline lake. Reductions of freshwater inflow from the Jordan River are impacting the lake water chemistry and shrinking the lake's surface area. As the water level drops and the shoreline recedes, portions of the shoreline have collapsed, resulting in the development of >6,000 sinkholes.

The Masada fortress is located atop an isolated horst block in the Judean Desert near the shore of the Dead Sea. In 70 AD, the abandoned fortress was inhabited by zealots fleeing the Romans. A siege by the Romans ended the fortress occupation. Two features of the Masada fortress are discussed: 1) the use of hand-hewn rock cisterns to store water diverted from wadis using aqueducts, and 2) Roman earthworks used as a siege ramp (or more specifically how geologic investigations assisted anthropologists in understanding the ramp construction).


Mr. Murray is a retired professional geologist with 28+ years of experience managing CERCLA/RCRA site restorations with groundwater, soil, and sediment contamination. Mr. Murray earned BS and MS degrees in geology from the University of South Alabama and University of Alabama, respectively. He and his wife reside in Vonore, TN.




Greetings! We hope you will join us for the next ETGS virtual meeting, and that you, your family, and your colleagues are staying healthy and well. 

As a courtesy, please mute your cell phone or the microphone in your laptop/tablet to minimize background noise and feedback echoes. We will try to mute all participants until the presentation is finished. Please use the chat feature to type comments or questions during the presentation. We recommend that you send questions for the speaker to "everyone" so all participants can see the question. After the presentation, the speaker will answer questions.  During this Q&A period, you may unmute if you wish to ask a question verbally.

We will create an attendance list based on the participant names we can see during the meeting. This is helpful for those who need to document participation to support Professional Geologist registrations. It is not always possible to tell who is participating, especially for those joining by phone, so please email your name to etgs@live.com to be listed on the attendance sheet. Let us know exactly how your name should appear on the list.

Thank you for your patience and understanding as we continue adapting to this virtual format. As always, we welcome and appreciate your feedback and suggestions for improvement.




Page updated September 27, 2022