Dissertation Weekly #3

21 04 2011

I was contemplating whether to move on from my historical geography chapter or quote one more sentence from it.  That chapter is so filled with information, and its slightly unfinished until I can get a little more data on settlements patterns in the Baq’ah Valley.  So in the end I thought I would quote one more sentence from this chapter.

Chromoxererts are vertisols developed under a “xeric soil moisture regime” (Al-Qudah 2001: 130).

I quote this sentence to show how far afield one can go when writing a dissertation.  Since I have a degree in historical geography I thought I knew quite a bit about the geology and pedology of the southern Levant.  However we were taught the common names for soil types (such as terra rosa) and not the technical names.  The literature on the geology and pedology of Jordan is geared more towards the technical sciences, so while being scientific they are also very specific.  The sources, I found, allowed me to have a better understanding of the complex nature of the soil composition on and around Safut.

The sentence quoted above is mentioning a type of soil (chromoxererts) found in the Baq’ah Valley.  This soil type is clayey and holds moisture, so it is perfect for growing cereals (especially when mixed with xerochrepts, the terra rosa type soil).  The “regime” mentioned above is a typical Mediterranean climate, with hot, dry summers and cool, wet winters.  The geological, pedological, and hydrogical information in this chapter of my dissertation is attempting to understand what the area around Safut is like and why ancient people settled there.  The sentence quoted above is describing one of those reasons: fertile soil to grow crops.