THE COAST PLAINS
Extent and Character . The eastern shore of the Mediterranean is skirted by a series of low-lying coast plains, from one to five miles wide in the north to twenty-five miles wide in the south. At two points in Palestine the mountains come down to the sea; the one is at the so-called Ladder of Tyre, about fifteen miles south of the city from which it is named. Here the precipitous cliffs break directly over the sea. The other point is at Carmel, which, however, does not touch the sea directly, but is bounded on its western end by a strip of plain about two hundred yards wide. The soil of these coast plains consists of alluvial deposits, largely clay and red quartz sand washed down in the later geological periods from the mountains of the central plateau and constantly renewed by the annual freshets.
Fertility . Because of the nature of the soil and their position, these plains are among the most fertile spots in all Palestine. Numerous brooks and rivers rush down from the eastern headlands. Some of these are perennial; others furnish a supply of water, which, if stored during the winter in reservoirs on the heights above, is amply sufficient to irrigate the plains below. The average temperature of these coast plains is sixty-eight degrees. The cool sea-winds equalize the climate so that the temperature changes little throughout the year and there is but slight variation between the north and the south. Under these favorable conditions the soil produces in rich abundance a great variety of tropical fruits. Here grow side by side oranges, lemons, apricots, figs, plums, bananas, grapes, olives, pome-