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November 25, 1977 - Image 20

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1977-11-25

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

20 Friday, November 25, 1977 THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

Hebrew U. Prof. Finds Dust of Sahara Beneficial to Israel

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JERUSALEM—Some one
million tons of Saharan dust
annually settle over Israel
and help fertilize the soil,
according the Hebrew Uni-
versity soil scientist Prof.
Dan Yaalon.
Prof. Yaalon delivered a
paper on deposition of Saha-
ran dust at an international
conference on the mete-
orology of semi-arid zones

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which took place in Tel Aviv
Oct. 31-Nov. 4, under the
joint sponsorship of the
Israel Meteorological
Society and the American
Meteorological Society.
For the last five years
Prof. Yaalon has conducted
a research on the composi-
tion and source of dust
reaching the eastern
Mediterannean. Among his
findings is that approx-
imately 25 million tons of
Saharan dust fall over
Israel, Lebanon, Syria and
the sea off the coast of these
countries during a 12-month
period.
Asked whether these
large quantities of dust
settling on Israel have a
detrimental effect, Prof.
Yaalon said, "On the con-
trary, this airborne dust is a
very significant contribution
to the soil of Israel. Much of
the material in our soil
derives from dust. It con-
tains various nutrients like
potash, phosphate and other
elements. The fertility of
the Nile Delta and desert
oases is an example of the
beneficial effects of the
Saharan dust."
Prof. Yaalon made the
study together with one of
his former PhD. students,
Dr. Eliezer Ganor, now a
Ministry of Health
employee dealing with pol-
lution matters throughout
Israel.
The study included taking
samples of dust which were
collected in - tens of "dust -
traps"—one-square-meter
boxes—placed at Climatolo-
gical stations all the way
from Santa Katarian in
southern Sinai to Mount
Hermon in the north. Once a
month the boxes were
emptied of their contents of
dust, which penetrated
between the boxes' glass
and plastic beads, simulat-
ing soil surface.
Other parts of the study
were collecting particles
from airplanes during dust
storm conditions and obtain-
ing dust material by pump-
ing air through filters.
From more than 1,000
dust samples selected,
chemical, mineralogical-
and granulometric tests
were made and some were
also examined for content of

main season of dust depos-
ition over Israel, Prof. Yaa-
Ion said.

pollen and micro-fossils.
In addition, the research-
ers examined synoptic
(meteorological) maps to
trace the source of the
dust—which proved to be
the Sahara Desert—as well
as pictures taken from sat-
ellites which also showed
that the dust origniated in
Sahara. The main source of
the Saharan dust, it was
established, comes from
northern Libya and Sudan.
The January-April period.
the time of frequent sha-
rays, (hot winds) is the

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