Thursday, May 11, 2006

SHORING UP MASADA -- I noted this story a couple of years ago, but the Jerusalem Post now has a new, long article on it:
Could Masada fall again?

Masada is one of the most renowned symbols of Jewish endurance.

Rising 230 meters above the Dead Sea valley, the site of a mass suicide of Jewish Zealots in 73 CE, it is, next to Jerusalem, Israel's most popular tourist site. Elite units of the Israel Defense Forces hold ceremonies atop its heights, pledging, "Masada shall not fall again."

But it might.

Not today, not tomorrow, but one day. Seismic tremors, climatic change and, inevitably, gravity continue to threaten the stability of the historic remains and the mountain that supports them.

Engineering professors from Beersheba's Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and the University of California-Berkeley have teamed up to make sure that doesn't happen.

Using state-of-the-art monitoring devices and advanced computer modeling techniques, and armed with a four-year grant from the United States-Israel Binational Science Foundation, Beersheba's Yossi Hatzor and Berkeley's Steven Glaser are breaking new ground in geological engineering.

Masada is their test case.


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