The Geological Survey of Israel (GSI
), founded in 1949, is a government institute operating under the Earth Science Research Administration within the Ministry of National Infrastructures, and is involved in earth science research and development in the broadest senses, adapting itself to the changing needs of a small and dynamic country. The objectives of the GSI
are: to document, study and conduct research in all aspects of the country's geology, to act as an advisory body to all government branches and major public and private enterprises, to maintain a national and regional earth sciences data base, and to maintain an analytical infrastructure.
Its present staff numbers some seventy-five tenured and twenty-five temporary employees, most of whom are scientists (geology, chemistry, computer science). In addition, twenty M.Sc. and Ph.D. students carry out their theses studies within the framework of the GSI. The GSI is organized in six divisions: Directors Office including Administration and Logistics; Water and Mineral Resources; Geochemistry and Environmental Geology; Geological Mapping and the Suburface Environment; Engineering Geology and Geological Hazards; Earth Sciences Information Systems.
The rapid changes taking place in our region that are manifested, inter alia, in the large increase in population and urbanization obligates the Geological Survey to be flexible in its concept of targets, and in fitting its activities to the relevant needs. Within this setting, the GSI is undergoing revision in its structure and personnel with the aim of concentrating its professional activities on a number of central themes such as hydrogeology, seismic hazards and environmental issues, and in developing its supporting infrastructures. The main fields in which the Geological Survey focuses are:
- Qualitative and quantitative hydrogeology;
- Stability of the infrastructure and earthquake damage;
- The Dead Sea – dealing with the existing situation and forecasts;
- Environmental processes and forecasting their effects;
- The paleo-climatic record and its significance for future evaluations;
- Potential and realization of natural resources.
As part of the studies required for national water management in the realm of hydrological infrastructures, the Survey has taken upon itself the responsibility for quantifying the primary groundwater resources. This activity requires integrated steps, the first focussing on the development of conceptual hydrological models expressing the groundwater flow systems. The second step deals with translating the conceptual models to a numerical system and in setting mathematical models to quantitatively simulate the groundwater flow and its transport of solubles. The required expertise for this aim relates to fields of computerized geological and topographical mapping and their derivatives, to identifying active faults and recent crustal movements, to producing 3-dimensional simulations of the subsurface and paleoseismic studies.
Almost all the above activities are contingent to a great extent on a supporting infrastructure whose culminating point is systematic 3-D simulation of the subsurface space in a GIS system. The Geological Survey has built such a system that is being continuously refinement and updated both to increase its resolution and to integrate additional parameters. Our involvement in hydrogeology and environmental issues rests to a large extent on the laboratory infrastructure. This has developed rapidly over the past several years, and in certain areas, the Survey stands at the forefront of this technology. An ICP-MS Multi-Collector has been installed and joins the ICP-AES, ICP-MS, and stable isotope analytical facilities, which have been in operation for some time. All these together form an analytic array of the first order, and complements capabilities available in other national research institutions collaborating with the Survey.