My_Photo Ran Novitsky Nof
Seismological Division
The Geological Survey of Israel

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Sinkholes precursors:

The water level of the Dead Sea (Israel and Jordan) has been dropping at an increasing rate since the 1960s, exceeding a meter per year during the last decade. This level drop has triggered the formation of sinkholes and widespread land subsidence along the Dead Sea shoreline, resulting in severe economic loss and infrastructural damage. In this study, the spatio-temporal evolution of sinkhole-related subsidence and the effect of human activities and land perturbation on their development are examined through Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) measurements and field surveys conducted in Israel during 2012. Interferograms are generated using the COSMO-SkyMed satellite images and a high-resolution (0.5 m/pixel) elevation model that is obtained from airborne Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR). Thanks to this unique integration of high-resolution datasets, mm-scale subsidence may be resolved in both undisturbed and human-disturbed environments. A few months long precursory subsidence occurred in all three sinkhole sites reported in this study. The centers of the subsiding areas and successive sinkholes migrated, possibly due to progressive dissolution and widening of the underlying cavities. Certain human activities, such as filling of newly formed sinkholes by gravels or mud injections into nearby drill holes, seem to enhance land subsidence, widen existing sinkholes and even form new sinkholes. Apart from shedding light on the mechanical process, the results of this study may pave the way for the implementation of an operational sinkhole early warning system.
Sinkhole precursor interferogram Abstract from: Nof, R.N., Baer G., Ziv A., Raz E., Atzori S., Salvi S., 2013, Sinkhole precursors along the Dead Sea, Israel, revealed by SAR interferometry , Geology, doi: 10.1130/G34505.1.(Geology)
Sinkhole precursor interferogram
16/2/2012 - 3/3/2012

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Discovery Channal / Daily Planet Sep 19, 2013/ By Heather Sherman (Article)

Discovery Channal / Daily Planet Sep 19, 2013/ By Heather Sherman (Full Show - N. America Only)

Science 2.0 Jul 18, 2013/ By News Staff

Channal 2 Friday news Oct. 26, 2012 / by Shay Gal (in Hebrew)

Maarive Oct. 22, 2012 / by Uri Binder (in Hebrew)

National Geographic Oct. 21, 2012 / by Adi Katz (in Hebrew)

Erev Hadash Aug. 9, 2012 / TV interview with Gidi Baer (in Hebrew):

Haaretz Aug. 6, 2012 / by Zafrir Rinat (in Hebrew) (English version)