Last day of 2012 fieldwork in Israel by Wooster Geologists

MITZPE RAMON–Today we finished our exploration of the Upper Cretaceous near Mitzpe Ramon, and then met some old friends for a different project near Ar’arat an-Naqab in the northernmost part of the Negev. This gave me the chance to take a picture of my three favorite Israeli geologists. (Yes, actually getting them to turn around for the camera would have been a bit too much stage management on my part!) On the left is Shlomo Ashkenazi, a retired geological technician and superb field assistant who still volunteers for the Geological Survey of Israel. In the center is Amihai Sneh, also retired from the survey (retirement doesn’t mean much for geologists!) and a mapping genius, and then Yoav Avni, who you met earlier in these posts. At their knees you see a light brown unit that was the subject of our meeting. It is a dolomite, apparently from the Miocene, that has structures in it that may be trace fossils. They wanted my opinion.

Here they are on a bedding plane of the dolomite. Yes, they are trace fossils. My work here is done.

We explored the area around a Bedouin city, one of three in Israel. This is Ar’arat an-Naqab. A “Bedouin city” would have been a contradiction in terms a generation ago. The Bedouin were a nomadic people in this region. The Israeli government set aside land for the settlement of Bedouin, and these modern cities are the result. There is still considerable tension, though, with Bedouin who remain in tents and other structures on what is officially government land. The motivation for them to leave several acres of land they have claimed so that they can live in apartments is, as you can imagine, rather low. We talked to several Bedouin today as we looked for outcrops. Since we were in a government vehicle, there was some suspicion that we were plotting to take their land, but once we explained our geological mission, all was well.

Thus ends the 2012 Wooster Geology expedition to Israel. All our goals were met, and we were once again surprised by how many new things we saw and learned. It has been a wonderful adventure! Thank you again to The College of Wooster and donors and granting agencies who have made such trips possible.

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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3 Responses to Last day of 2012 fieldwork in Israel by Wooster Geologists

  1. Kit Price says:

    Your trip sounds/looks so cool! I’m glad you guys achieved what you wanted to!

  2. Karry Sieving says:

    I like your write-up. Another element is that just being a photographer entails not only difficulties in catching award-winning photographs but additionally hardships in acquiring the best photographic camera suited to your needs and most especially challenges in maintaining the standard of your camera. That is very accurate and noticeable for those photography addicts that are into capturing the actual nature’s fascinating scenes — the mountains, the actual forests, the actual wild or the seas. Visiting these daring places certainly requires a dslr camera that can live up to the wild’s severe natural environment

  3. Susan Forrester says:

    It sure is a challenging task. Israel is a great place for geological explorations such as yours, with its super rich history. In fact same goes for the whole of the Middle East. I hope they could find a way to achieve peace. They will reap immensely. Meanwhile congratulations on your accomplishments

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