Friday, March 2, 2012

My Inner (Geologist) Nerd Appears in Israel

During our trip to Israel, not only was I totally overwhelmed by the spiritual nature of the trip, but by the local geology as well (oops, I probably just lost my audience).  I was struck by the fact that in Capharnaum, much of the millstones were made of basalt (a black deep ocean igneous rock) while everything else I had seen on the trip was sedimentary (light colored limestone and sandstone).  So I asked myself the question; where did this stone come from?

I soon got my answer on the way to the sight where Christ cast the demons into pigs, which is on the eastern side of the Sea of Galilee.  At a point, we left the limestone and sandstone and entered an area full of the dark basalt rock from the deep sea.  As we continued to cross the north shore of the Sea of Galilee, the rock turned back into the limestone and sandstone.  You could tell that the dark basalt had split the sedimentary rocks in two.

For the first time in my life I saw evidence of a plate tectonic rift zone. 

This area is part of the Great Rift Valley, which is one of the only new spreading centers in the world. 

If you draw a line from the Sea of Galilee through the Dead Sea to the Red Sea, you would have just drawn a fault that goes through the entire length of the Holy Land.  Eventually, the Arabian plate will continue to move north and away from the African plate.  Eventually, the Dead Sea will become part of the Red Sea (the Dead Seas is ~1,000 below sea level) and eventually connect the Indian Ocean with the Mediterranean.

It all reminds me of Psalm 114 when we hear the Psalmist say:

The sea looked and fled, the Jordan turned back; the mountains leaped like rams, the hills like lambs. Why was it, sea, that you fled? Why, Jordan, did you turn back? Why, mountains, did you leap like rams, you hills, like lambs?

 God was using nature to make His point.  It is a beautiful thing.

OK, I feel better. 

1 comment:

  1. haha glad you got to see all of this! Interesting!