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View of part of the cave area at Bet Guvrin/Mareshah in the Shephelah of Judah. This area is composed of soft Eocene limestones and chalks.
On the lower portion of the rock scarp notice the soft white chalk. On the top of the scarp, the grayish area is the "Nari" covering—a hard crusty coating that is about 3 to 6 feet thick. It is very hard and thus grain crops cannot be grown on it—that is not on the tops nor slopes of the rounded hills.
In the soft chalky limestone, there are numerous caves—both natural and hand-dug.