web analytics
November 28, 2014 / 6 Kislev, 5775
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post
IDC Herzliya Campus A Day on Campus

To mark IDC Herzliya’s 20th anniversary, we spent a day following Prof. Uriel Reichman, IDC’s founder and president, and Jonathan Davis, VP for External Relations, around its delightful campus.



Israel Researchers Discover Some of Western Wall Stones Wearing Away

One advantage of erosion of stones at the Kotel is more cracks for people to place prayer notes.
Eroding limestone make it easier to put notes in crevices in the Western Wall but also contribute to  its instability.

Eroding limestone make it easier to put notes in crevices in the Western Wall but also contribute to its instability.
Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Erosion in fine-grained limestones at the Western Wall is up to 100 times faster than other stones that have almost not eroded at all in 2,000 years ago stones, according to Hebrew University researchers.

The Kotel is not in danger of collapsing, but some of the stones have receded by several inches.

The erosion of some stones is good news for people placing prayer notes in the wall’s cracks and crevices, but presents a problem for engineers concerned about the structure’s stability.

To calculate the erosion in the different kinds of limestone that make up the Western Wall, a remnant of the ancient wall that surrounded the courtyard of the Holy Temple, researchers from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem used a laser scan to create an accurate three-dimensional computer model.

As reported in an article accepted for publication in the journal Geology, researchers Dr. Simon Emmanuel and PhD student Mrs. Yael Levenson found that stones made up of relatively large crystals were resistant to wear, so that they were almost unchanged in the 2000 years since they were originally put in place. By contrast, limestone with very small crystals (about one thousandth of a millimeter in size) eroded far more quickly.

In some cases, extreme erosion rates in fine-grained micritic limestone blocks were up to 100 times faster than the average rates estimated for the coarse-grained limestone blocks. In some places, these stones had receded by at least a foot, potentially weakening the overall structure.

To understand what causes the two types of rock to behave differently, the researchers collected samples from ancient quarries thought to have supplied the stones for the Second Temple. Using a powerful atomic force microscope, they were able to see how the rocks disintegrated when they came into contact with water. During the experiments on rocks made up of small crystals, tiny particles rapidly detached from the surface of the rock. These experiments simulated the way in which rain water interacts with limestone in nature.

Observed for the first time in Dr. Emmanuel’s lab, this process of accelerated erosion can explain why some rocks are more weathered than others. While mechanical weathering is thought to act on blocks and chips of rock at the visible outcrop scale, the researchers showed for the first time that chemo-mechanical erosion extends down to the tiny micron scale. The findings could have important implications for regional and global carbonate weathering.

“Understanding such weathering processes could help guide the development of effective preservation techniques,” according to Dr. Emmanuel.“ For example, it may be possible to develop materials that slow the rate of erosion by binding the tiny crystals in the rock together. Advanced engineering techniques like this should assist efforts to protect not only the Western Wall, but other cultural heritage sites in Israel and around the world.”

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

One Response to “Israel Researchers Discover Some of Western Wall Stones Wearing Away”

  1. Lily Weiser says:

    Making way for the third Temple

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry .
NYT Ignores US Condemnation of PA Incitement, Prints Info on Ferguson Cop
Latest News Stories
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry .

The NYT published sensitive info on a Ferguson cop — but ignored a US condemnation of terror.

It's business as usual as Gazans repair the tunnels used to smuggle in the long-range rockets that hit Tel Aviv.

Some of these Gazan tunnels were estimated to have cost $3 million to construct, but will they sustain continued flooding by rain and sewer water?

IDF Chief Rabbi Rafi Peretz delivers lecture.

“Ninety percent of them [Arabs] don’t know what is written in the Kuran.”

Soldiers start asking questions after Arab sniper narrowly misses killing Jewish motorist on Highway 60, south of Jerusalem.

“Lone wolves” trying to murder Jews are popping up too frequently.

The Gurlitt Museum promises all looted art will be returned to the rightful owners.

Liberal Jews are for tolerance until they also have to be tolerant.

Israeli Shayetet 13 Naval commandos discovered a wounded fellow swimmer in the water, while they were doing a training exercise on Thursday morning. The commandos helped and treated the dolphin until a marine animal doctor could arrive to help it further. By the way, the temperature in Israel was between 52-66 degree Fahrenheit on Thursday, […]

A pre-Thanksgiving speech for Americans. Obama, are you listening?

“You’ve been hacked by the Syrian Electronic Army.”

Murderers have upgraded their weapons from rocks and firebombs to guns.

Thanksgiving is an American secular holiday that most Jews have no problem celebrating due to its lack of overt religious symbols (unlike the American holidays right before and after it). Still, there are always holdouts for some reason or another. Let’s hear what you do…

Maybe he thought those white hoods are prayer shawls although they are closer to being burkas.

As the expression goes, “Don’t bring a knife to a gunfight.”

Hamas snipers fired from Gaza at an IDF routine patrol operating along the security fence early afternoon on Thursday. No injuries were reported, and the vehicle was damaged. The IDF responded with an artillery shell aimed at the source of fire.

Jacob Richman found this amusing mistake in the store. Do we eat these “extra crispy” soap nuts, or wash the dishes with them?

For every terrorist cell Israel announces it has captured, there are many more kept under wraps.

More Articles from Jewish Press Staff
Arab butchers in the Har Nof massacre left Canadian-Israeli Howie Rothman in a coma. Above: Rothman and two of his children.

A Toronto synagogue issued a rare Shabbat appeal to help the family.

A new App lets children and adults become virtual archaeologists.

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1)

The new case of a 5-year-old makes it more difficult to fight NY and NJ quarantine policies.

Hamas is still in the mode of “give us a finger and we will take the whole hand.”

The Rabbinical Council of America said that since the arrest last week of Rabbi Barry Freundel of Washington, DC, it has been working assiduously to address the many challenges that its members and their communities now face.

The exhibition includes the largest gold medallion with Judaic symbols known in existence.

The soft-glove approach to campus anti-Zionists is more like a pat on the back.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/israel-researchers-discover-some-of-western-wall-stones-wearing-away/2014/08/12/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: