web analytics
October 23, 2014 / 29 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



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
Arabs burn tires in Shuafat neighborhood of Jerusalem.
Arab Violence in Jerusalem Forces Police to Return Law and Order
Latest News Stories
Haredim have the plane all to themselves when they travel to Uman.

Were you on the plane? Let us know what really happened.

The scene after tractor attacked bus in Jerusalem in early August

Terror? Of course not. The Arab driver lost control of his steam shovel after being prematurely shot.

Arabs burn tires in Shuafat neighborhood of Jerusalem.

The first intifada began with Ishmael 3,500 years ago and never ended.

The funeral for Chaye Zisel Braun began at midnight Wednesday night.

Al-Shaloudi was the nephew of the former Hamas chief and bombmaker Mohiyedine Sharif.

Arab media describes Hamas vehicular terrorist attack as ‘Palestinian ‘shot dead’ by Israeli police.’

Police tried to reach the home of the driver in Wednesday’s attack.

Hundreds of Jewish leaders from around the world who are part of the Jewish Agency for Israel Board of Governor will convene in Ashkelon, one of Hamas favorite targets for rockets and missiles, next week. The Board had been set to meet in Mexico as part of its annual rotation amongst the world’s Jewish communities, […]

With all due respect to the IDF, since when is drug smuggling not linked to terror?

A demonstration by 10,000 in Isfahan for women’s rights has morphed into a protest against Iran’s regime.

Syria says it bombed the jets as they were landing in Aleppo.

The baby that was injured in the suspected terror attack this evening died in the hospital.

The train company’s video of the event in Jerusalem that left 8 people injured.

Haifa-based Elbit Systems won an $88 million from an unnamed Asian country for various projects, most of them for an F-5 aircraft avionics upgrade program and the supply of electro-optic and communications systems, Elbit announced Wednesday. The F-5 fighter jet has been in operation for more than 40 years four decades, and is used by […]

More Articles from Jewish Press Staff
Israeli Navy ships opened fire on a boat from Gaza that was trying to break the maritime embargo.

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

RCA Logo

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.

PM Netanyahu has sent out his Rosh HaShana greeting to Jews around the world.

Turkey is not going to be signing any deals for Israeli natural gas exports any time soon, says Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz.

Netanyahu said that since the Jordanians opposed the bridge, “Of course we agreed.” Of course.

The Israeli navy is about to receive its fourth submarine and the first of three nuclear-capable subs purchased from Germany.

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: