|Location:||At the western shore of the Dead Sea. At the road Jericho to Eilat. (31°22" N 35°26" E)|
|Classification:||karst springs, oasis.|
|Dimension:||Production: 3,000,000m³ per year|
|Address:||Kibbutz Ein Gedi.m.P.Dead Sea, Israel 86980. Resort Hotel: Tel: +972-8-6594222, Fax: +972-8-6584328. Ein Gedi Spa: Tel: +972-8-6594760, Tel: +972-8-6594813, Fax: +972-8-6584137. E-mail:|
|As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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Ein Gedi is a typical place for the dasert at the western rim of the Dead Sea. Its existence is strongly connected with karst and it is a really touristic spot, so it was listed here.
Israel is located in a semi aride climate zone at the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea. The local climate is also called winter rain climate, as all rains falls during winter. Israel has a special geologic feature, a graben or better a rift valley, running north-south, about parallel to the coast of the Mediterranean. But it is devided by the Hebron Hills, a mountain range, also running north-south between the sea and the graben. This rage is typically about 700 to 1,000m high, with famous cities like Jerusalem and Bethlehem on top. The humid air comes from the west, from the Mediterranean and the mountains cause the water to fall as rain at the western slopes, and the eastern slopes get no rain at all.
The mediterranean sea is fed by three kinds of water sources. First the river Jordan. Second the winter rains which fall on the Hebron Hills and a part of the water runs down towards the east and into the Dead Sea. And the third source of water are karst springs at the foothills.
The mountains are heavily folded and thus the tectonic structure is really complicated. Among the rocks, limestone layers are rather common. Some of those layers extend across the whole mountain range to the western slopes. The karst springs are fed by rains falling on the western side of the mountains. The water enters the caves of the limestone layers and crosses the ridge underground, to reappear in alleys on the other side. One of those valleays with its numerous springs is Ein Gedi.
The oasis of Ein Gedi is originally a brook with some vegetation, forming cascades and tufa terraces in the steep valley. Originally the water allowed numerous wild desert animals their survival and was loosing again in the debris at the lower end of the valley, reaching the Dead Sea underground.
Today Ein Gedi is a kibbuz, an Israeli settlement, a combination of farm and tribe. The people live outside the valley, at the lower end. Rather horizontal land around the kibbuz was transformed into terraces with date plantations. The water to allow this is taken from the winter rain floods running down the valley several times in winter, which are collected with dams, and from the karst springs.
The valley with its springs, lakes and caves is now a nature reserve, because of its unique desert fauna. Visitors can see numerous animals, among them the desert ibex. To protect this reserve, the water of the springs is collected at the lower end of the valley, where it was lost in the debris before.
The oasis is fed by four springs:
Together these springs produce about three million cubic meters of water each year. The production is nearly constant, with very small seasonal changes, and not dependent on the amount of rain which falls during the winter. This is rather uncommon for karst springs, as caves allow easy fluctuation of water. In this case the geologic situation is so complicated and prevents an easy and direct connection to the other side of the divide. It seems, the connection allows a certain constant throughput from the much higher water body on the western side to the springs at the Dead Sea, 300m below sea level.