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Tour 6

The Dead Sea lakes - unique archives of the regional hydro-climatic history during the Quaternary period: a journey through time from the Sodom lagoon to the Holocene Dead Sea

Adi Torpstein and Mordechai Stein (The Hebrew University and the Geological Institute)

general description

During the Quaternary period, terminal lacustrine bodies of water existed in the tectonic depression of the Dead Sea basin (the water came out of them mainly as evaporation) which were characterized by different salinities, varying levels and different limnological properties (e.g. a layered or uniform limnological structure). These features reflect the hydrological conditions in the Dead Sea drainage basin. The hydrological conditions in the region are dictated by global climate change. The water that filled the lakes is a mixture between an ancient calcium chloride brine that was created during the intrusion of seawater but the Dead Sea rift (a body of water called the "Sodom Lagoon") and between fresh water that reaches the lake with the Jordan River and flood waters. This water carries with it grains of the covering material of the surface in the drainage basin. Epophoric sediments such as salt, gypsum and aragonite were deposited on the bottom of the lakes as well as the grains of the detrital material. These materials build the lacustrine formations that sank in the lakes over time. The purpose of the proposed tour is to visit key sites of the lake formations, to examine the materials from which the formations are built at each of the sites, to see the stratigraphic sections and to describe the various studies that have been done in recent years on chronology, sedimentology, hydrology and geochemistry.



  1. Sodom Quarry

  2. Chimney cave section

  3. Side section - the shape of the tongue

  4. Nahal Ergot section - Tzalim Formation


General note: short walks (about two km)

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