October 10, 2022
6:00 - 7:30 pm
Note: ETGS members will receive an email with info for logging into the meeting.
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.
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Page updated September 27, 2022