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> The Nature of Samaria
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The Minerals and Climate in Samaria
submitted by Turathuna Bethlehem University

Among the rocks which are so abundant in Samaria, it is worth noting the 'mizzi' and 'malaki', both going back to the Cenomanian era. The layers of dolomite which they contain may crumble under the action of meteoric waters to the point of forming fine sand. The mizzi (hard stone), compact and solid, is used in building for facing, and when polished can shine like marble. Its color goes from a uniform dark opaque grey to bright yellow and red speckles. The malaki (royal stone) is suitable for the finest sculptures and the strongest pillars. Prolonged humidity can turn its beautiful clear white opaque, but more often gives it a golden sheen.

The four seasons are fairly clearly distinguished, even if the summer is by far longest. However, one normally speaks in terms of a wet season and a dry season. The climate may be described as very mild: the average yearly temperature is 18.6°C, with daily excursions of 4°C in winter and ± 11°C in summer.

In spring, and sometimes in autumn, there may appear the 'khamsin', a hot wind that blows in from the desert from the South and East. Khamsin means 'fifty', and in fact this wind generally appears during the fifty days which according to our calendar separate Easter from Pentecost. It brings heat, dryness and so much sand that sometimes the very sun is obscured. The temperature climbs rapidly, sometimes to as much as 42-44°C. The cycles of khamsin generally last about two or three days, sometimes four or five, exceptionally a week. Under its scorching breath young plants wither, flowering fields dry up. The animals seek refuge in the shade, but even there find little respite. Human beings feel it, suffer a general malaise, and sometimes become extremely agitated, even to the point of acting wildly. In by-gone times, according to a law that was operative in every country of the Arabian Peninsula, the judge was authorised to concede tenuating circumstances for an act of violence committed during khamsin.

Source: "Samaria" by Maria Petrozzi

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