Study of the factors affecting the karst volume assessment in the Dead Sea sinkhole problem using microgravity field analysis and 3-D modeling
- 1Department of Geophysics and Planetary Sciences, Raymond and Beverly Sackler Faculty of Exact Sciences, Tel Aviv University, Ramat Aviv 69978, Tel Aviv, Israel
- 2Geophysical Institute of Israel, P.O. Box 182, Lod 71100, Israel
- 3Surveying and Geomatics Department, Faculty of Engineering, Al-Balqa Applied University, Salt 19117, Jordan
- 4Institut de Recherche pour le De'veloppement (IRD-LTHE), BP53, 38041 Grenoble Cedex 9, France
Abstract. Thousands of sinkholes have appeared in the Dead Sea (DS) coastal area in Israel and Jordan during two last decades. The sinkhole development is recently associated with the buried evaporation karst at the depth of 25–50 m from earth's surface caused by the drop of the DS level at the rate of 0.8–1.0 m/yr. Drop in the Dead Sea level has changed hydrogeological conditions in the subsurface and caused surface to collapse. The pre-existing cavern was detected using microgravity mapping in the Nahal Hever South site where seven sinkholes of 1–2 m diameter had been opened. About 5000 gravity stations were observed in the area of 200×200 m2 by the use of Scintrex CG-3M AutoGrav gravimeter. Besides the conventional set of corrections applied in microgravity investigations, a correction for a strong gravity horizontal gradient (DS Transform Zone negative gravity anomaly influence) was inserted. As a result, residual gravity anomaly of –(0.08÷0.14) mGal was revealed. The gravity field analysis was supported by resistivity measurements. We applied the Emigma 7.8 gravity software to create the 3-D physical-geological models of the sinkholes development area. The modeling was confirmed by application of the GSFC program developed especially for 3-D combined gravity-magnetic modeling in complicated environments. Computed numerous gravity models verified an effective applicability of the microgravity technology for detection of karst cavities and estimation of their physical-geological parameters. A volume of the karst was approximately estimated as 35 000 m3. The visual analysis of large sinkhole clusters have been forming at the microgravity anomaly site, confirmed the results of microgravity mapping and 3-D modeling.