Visiting the modern version of our ancient world

MITZPE RAMON, ISRAEL — Every shabbat in Israel (Friday sundown to Saturday sundown) we cease geological work and take a break.  Our first shabbat on this trip started with a wonderful dinner at the home of our hosts Yoav and Noa Avni, and then on Saturday morning we drove to the city of Eilat on the Red Sea coast which touches the southern tip of Israel.  Our goal was to visit the Underwater Observatory Marine Park to see the modern equivalents of our fossil animals and sediments.

Shoreline of Eilat, Israel, from the Underwater Observatory tower. A fringing reef can be seen just offshore.

We saw plenty of sharks in a large glass-walled tank, and then countless examples of marine life in aquaria and through the windows of a glass-and-steel structure planted about thirty feet down into a living coral reef.  It all helps give us context for our reconstructions of Cretaceous marine ecology, and we also had much fun studying the fascinating and beautiful living animals before us.

Top section of the Underwater Observatory in Eilat.

About Mark Wilson

Mark Wilson is a Professor of Geology at The College of Wooster. He specializes in invertebrate paleontology, carbonate sedimentology, and stratigraphy. He also is an expert on pseudoscience, especially creationism.
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