Abrupt aridities and salt deposition in the post-glacial Dead Sea and their North Atlantic connection

Mordechai Stein, Adi Torfstein, Ittai Gavrieli, Yoseph Yechieli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

121 Scopus citations


Abrupt arid events in the post-glacial (∼17.4-10 kyr BP) Dead Sea Basin (DSB) were recorded by significant lake level declines in Lake Lisan and massive deposition of gypsum and salt. Between 17.4 and 16 kyr cal BP, the lake level dropped from its late MIS2 stand of ∼260 m below mean sea level (m bmsl) to ∼330 m bmsl, depositing a thick sequence of gypsum. Between ∼16 and 15 kyr cal BP the lake level recovered but dropped abruptly again at ∼14 kyr cal BP to below 465 m bmsl, probably the lowest late Pleistocene stand. Then, between 13 and 11 kyr cal BP (the Younger Dryas time interval) the lake rose above 400 m bmsl and declined at 11-10 kyr cal BP depositing a thick sequence of salt. The abrupt lake level drops and salt deposition coincided with times of ice and meltwater discharges into the North Atlantic (NA): Heinrich event (H1) and Meltwater Pulse - MWP1a. Similar coincidence between ice and meltwater discharges in the NA (e.g., H-events) and arid episodes at the Levant was recorded during the colder last glacial period, demonstrating a persistent effect of the North Atlantic hydrology and sea ice advances on the Levant climate. The climatically "turmoil" post-glacial period was accompanied by significant developments in human culture: the collapse of the Natufian culture during the Bølling-Allerød and the rise of the Pre-Pottery Neolithic cultures, PPN A and B around the 11-10 kyr cal BP salt deposition interval marking the initiation of the "Neolithic revolution" in the region.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)567-575
Number of pages9
JournalQuaternary Science Reviews
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2010
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology
  • Geology


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