Israel's Territories Typified by Patterns of Biodeterioration

Published: April 15th, 2009 | Updated: 17/01/15

During the description of biodeterioration patterns I wished to arrive at criteria that may be used for subdividing the country into territories. Hence, in Fig. 6.14.1 the desert area may be typified by pitting of calcareous rocks. Endolithic lichens, which are more moisture-demanding organisms, prevail in similar microhabitats in the Mediterranean territory. Yellow spots in the “red land” and red spots in the “yellow land” indicate remnants of biogenic weathering which does not prevail in that area at present. In this way remnants of pits in the Mediterranean territory are presenting fossils of the desert climate that penetrated the area in the past.

Climatic conditions presented in the map’s legend derive from the information available in the 2nd edition of Atlas of Israel (Roznan, 1970). Abbreviations are: D = average annual number of nights with dew; P = mean annual rainfall (mm); T = mean annual daily temperature (centigrade degrees). In order to avoid duplication of information, the data is presented only in the figure’s caption.

Fig. 6.14.1: A map of biological territories determined according to the common weathering patterns


In the map above, D = average number of nights with dew; P = mean annual rainfall (in mm); T = mean annual temperature (centigrade) Territory 1 – P = 20-100; D<< 120; T = 21 - 25 Rocks: micro-pitting by the fungus Lichenotheila, pitting by cyanobacteria and cyanophilous lichens, exfoliation by chasmoendolithic cyanobacteria, rock-varnish on dolomite and limestone cliffs facing east- and southwards. Detached stones: pitting and micro-pitting similar to those on rocks. Territory 2 –P = 80-200; D> 120; T = 17 – 21 Rocks: epilithic lichens on north-facing slopes; on south-facing slopes: micro-pitting by the fungus Lichenotheila, pitting by cyanobacteria and cyanophilous lichens, exfoliation by chasmoendolithic cyanobacteria, rock-varnish on dolomite and limestone cliffs facing east and south. Detached stones: Jigsaw puzzle-like pattern caused by endolithic lichens, minute holes caused by the fruiting bodies of endolithic lichens (mainly on small stones), epilithic lichens in valleys and north-facing slopes. Territory 3 –P = 200-600; D> 120 (?); T = 19 – 23 Rocks: A spongy pattern all over the rock surface caused by cyanobacteria and cyanophilous lichens. Minute holes here and there caused by the fruiting bodies of endolithic lichens. Exfoliation here and there, caused by chasmoendolithic cyanobacteria, mainly at the southern part of the territory. Detached stones: As in the rocks, but with no exfoliation. Territory 4 –P = 400-1000; D> 150; T = (12-) 15- 19 Rocks: epilithic lichens on north-facing slopes; jigsaw puzzle-like pattern caused by endolithic lichens on south-, west- and east-facing slopes. Minute holes caused by the fruiting bodies of endolithic lichens on most slopes; a spongy pattern and occasional pits on cliffs and recently exposed limestone. Detached stones: jigsaw puzzle-like pattern caused by endolithic lichens or minute holes caused by their fruiting bodies; spongy pattern on recently exposed stones. Territory 5 –P = 400-600; D> 150 (?); T = 19- 20 Rocks: a spongy pattern all over the rock surface caused by cyanobacteria and cyanophilous lichens. Occasional minute holes caused by the fruiting bodies of endolithic lichens; jigsaw puzzle-like pattern caused by endolithic lichens on rock crests. Detached stones: a spongy pattern or holes, caused by the fruiting bodies. Territory 6: Deep soil with very few rock outcrops. Territory 7: Basalt and volcanic ash and derived soils.