Geology of Al Makhrour

Most of the outcropping rocks in Bethlehem area were deposited under shallow warm sea conditions in the late Cretaceous times from the Late Cenomanian (95 million years ago) to Late Santonian (82 million years ago). The rock column starts with medium-thick fractured hard dolomitic limestone with thin marl interbreeds that grades upward to be of thick marls and chalks which dominate the whole geologic column with occasional occurrence of medium-hard, thin limestone beds. A major fault directs NE-SW lead to the sinking of the eastern part of the area relative to its western part. The outcropping of these soft and thick rock successions made them target for erosion factors leading to the formation of steep hillsides around the city of Bethlehem, especially in the eastern and northern side. As well-known in geology, these thick limy strata were also suitable sites for karst phenomena and the formation of many caverns (Fig.1) and underground caves making the area good as shelter for first man and his cattle.


Figure 1. Picture for caves in Al Makhrour Valley.