Formation of sinkholes along the shore of the dead sea - Preliminary investigation

Y. Yechieli, M. Abelson, D. Wachs, V. Shtivelman, O. Crouvi, G. Baer

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


In the past decade, hundreds of collapse-sinkholes have formed along the Dead Sea coastlines in Israel and Jordan, causing severe damage to the regional infrastructure. We present some preliminary results combining geophysical methods, boreholes, and aerial photographs in order to understand the mechanism of sinkhole formation. Boreholes and seismic refraction indicate a ubiquitous salt layer at the subsurface below the sinkhole sites. Aerial photographs and seismic reflection imply that sinkhole sites form along faults. We suggest that the Dead Sea sinkholes were formed by dissolution of the salt layer, where the halite-sub-saturated groundwater invaded through faults. The invasion of the fresh groundwater from the west was triggered by the decrease in the Dead Sea level and the consequent eastward retreat of the Dead Sea shoreline which has lead the fresh-saline water interface to migrate eastward.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)184-192
Number of pages9
JournalGeotechnical Special Publication
Issue number122
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2003
Externally publishedYes
EventSinkholes and the Engineering and Environmental Impacts of Karst, Proceedings of the Ninth Multidisciplinary Conference - Huntsville, AL, United States
Duration: 6 Sep 200310 Sep 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Architecture
  • Building and Construction
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology


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