Winter School 2016

Madaba, 4 - 15 December 2016



The Dead Sea region with its unique landscape and cultural area is the central basis of life in the region and of great economic and ecological importance. On the other hand, the region is faced to hazardous natural phenomena and rapid environmental changes.

The Winter School focuses on sinkholes, seismicity and hydrogeology, all related to the dominant geological structure, the Dead Sea Transform fault system.
Sinkholes, a common phenomenon along the Dead Sea shore, form suddenly. Groundwater, under-saturated with respect to easily soluble minerals, uses faults as conduits to percolate to subsurface salt deposits. The water dissolves and flushes the salt, leading to a collapse of the underground substrate structure and, thus, to the development of sinkholes. Besides triggering sinkhole formation, groundwater determines the available water resources. The spatio-temporal quantification of groundwater recharge and flow in the Dead Sea Basin is thus essential for sustainable groundwater management.
Lying in an active fault zone, the region is exposed to severe earthquake hazard. In 1995, the magnitude 7.3 earthquake in the Gulf of Aqaba was a reminder of previous strong devastating earthquakes. The seismic hazard is estimated by integrating various databases from the region with new seismic monitoring techniques. In particular, the physical understanding of the evolution of strain, stress, and seismicity can serve as the basis for future hazard assessment.

Course Concept

The Winter School will be composed of a variety of modules enabling a close combination of theory and practice.
Lectures provide the theoretical background on the topics addressed. Exercises and field trips contribute to a better understanding of the gained knowledge. To detect and characterize earthquakes, the seismological software ‚SeisComP 3‘ is applied. Measurements and field work put the acquired knowledge into practice. To identify and characterize areas of high sinkhole potential, various monitoring methods, such as shear-wave reflection seismics and aerial photography are applied. In addition, hydrogeological measurements to estimate discharge, groundwater recharge and age are conducted. Finally, data analysis enables to evaluate and interpret the collected data.
All modules are given by internationally recognised researchers of DESERVE and invited experts.

The exchange of own knowledge and research ideas as well as the exchange between the different disciplines is fostered in the Winter School. The Winter School contributes to a closer cooperation between the different disciplines, as well as between young scientists working in the Dead Sea region.


All modules are given by internationally recognised researchers of DESERVE and invited experts.

Funding and Grants

The Winter School is funded by DESERVE and free of charge. DESERVE provides funding for accommodation expenses at Mosaic City Hotel Madaba for all participants.

In consultation with each participants home institution the granting of credit points (ECTS) is possible.


Mosaic City Hotel
Al Yarmouk St.


Manuela Nied
Project Coordinator DESERVE
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)
Institute of Meteorology and Climate Research
Troposphere Research
Hermann-von-Helmholtz-Platz 1
76344 Eggenstein-Leopoldshafen
Phone: +49 721 608-28060
Email: manuela.nied∂