About two weeks ago, residents of Tel Aviv noticed that a concrete surface outside their buildings was heating up and steam was coming out of the ground. Tests showed that the steam, which was as hot as 60°C (140°F), was water-based.
A witness explains: “I was afraid there was a power line in the area, and I asked a laborer to dig into the ground with a shovel. All of a sudden, steam came out. I imagined that it was probably a geyser. It appeared to me to be a geological incident – also because there haven’t been any problems with the electricity in the building.“
Although experts did not detect any dangerous substances at the site or any risk to the buildings’ stability, residents, as well as kindergartens in the area, were evacuated.
Officials described the source of the heat as “trapped energy” from an unknown origin.
עדכון בוקר מצפון איבן גבירול: העבודות נמשכות, האדים עדיין עולים והאדמה ממשיכה להיות חמה. כרגע לא ברור מה גורם להתחממות. שימו לב לבור שנחפר בשטח. האזור עדיין חסום וכוחות נמצאים בשטח. עדכונים ככל שיהיו בהמשך— Bar Peleg (@bar_peleg) January 1, 2021
צילם השכן הנחמד שנמצא כאן תחת הכינוי 0מולן שאיני מצליח לתייג pic.twitter.com/aXFmZ7betg
Tweet 1 translation: “Morning update from the north of Ivan Gvirol: Work continues, steam is still rising and the ground continues to be hot. It is currently unclear what is causing the warming. Notice the pit dug in the area. The area is still blocked and forces are on the ground. Updates as they are below was photographed by the nice neighbor who is here under the nickname 0 in front of them that I can not tag.“
Tweet 2 translation: “More professionals in the field. I understand that all the infrastructure factors, including the IEC staff, are there.“
The city said it would “continue to monitor the temperature of the ground, which is expected to take a long time to cool, and will continue to look into the causes of the unusual event.“
The Israel Electric Corporation didn’t find any connections between the heat and the power grid in the area.
The Geological Survey of Israel confirmed the temperature increase after testing ground and water temperature levels, but said it had so far found no explanation for it.
תצפית מלמעלה pic.twitter.com/u7dufx9bTj— Ilan Cohen (@ilanrcohen1) January 1, 2021
Tweet translation: Observation from above
Despite the efforts, municipal officials, the fire department, the Israel Electric Corporation and the Environmental Protection Ministry have not found the source of the heat yet.
Meanwhile, the Tel Aviv municipality informed the dozens of evacuated residents that they could go back to their homes. However, the residents don’t intend to return until they receive a detailed report about the source of the mysterious event.
“They evacuated us because they were worried about our safety, and now they’re calling on us to return without providing any kind of convincing explanation. How can you be so sure there’s no danger anymore?“
חדשות מחמי גבירול: העבודות והמדידות נמשכות. האדים כנראה פסקו וגם האדמה מעט התקררה (שימו לבל לסרטון, במקום המדידה הזה 39.3 מעלות). כמה סברות ששמעתי על הסיבה מגורמים שעבדו בשטח: תשתית חשמל ישנה בעומק הקרקע (חברת חשמל שללו) או חומר אורגני שבמגע עם מי תהום התחמם— Bar Peleg (@bar_peleg) January 3, 2021
צילום @ilanrcohen1 pic.twitter.com/CDKtDxVdQF
Tweet translation: “News from Gavirol’s father-in-law: The works and measurements continue. The steam probably stopped and the ground also cooled down a bit (put the bell on the video, in this measurement place 39.3 degrees). Some opinions I heard about the cause from factors that worked in the field: an old electricity infrastructure deep in the ground (the electricity company was denied) or organic matter that in contact with groundwater warmed up.“
Israel is known for its giant sinkholes eating up the Dead Sea.
Israel is also known for the Bell Caves, or ancient quarries found in the Beit Guvrin-Maresha National Park.
Israel is also known for Mount Bental, a mountain being part of a chain of volcanoes spanning along the eastern edge of Israel’s Golan Heights.
This now dormant volcano formed during a series of eruptions 100,000 to 700,000 years ago. Its last eruption occurred about 50,000 years ago.