New perspectives on coastal landscape reconstruction during the Late Quaternary: A test case from central Israel

Gilad Shtienberg, Justin K. Dix, Joel Roskin, Nicolas Waldmann, Revital Bookman, Or M. Bialik, Naomi Porat, Nimer Taha, Dorit Sivan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


The stratigraphic architecture of coastal plains is determined by the interactions between local (e.g. fluvial processes and topography), regional (e.g. climate) and global (e.g. sea level) forcing factors, primarily during the Late Quaternary Period. Detailed stratigraphic and sedimentological analyses of boreholes, cored between coastal ridges in the lowlands, coupled with optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) dating, and integrated with existing onshore and offshore databases, has enabled a 4-D reconstruction of the evolution of the coast of Israel during the last glacial-interglacial cycle. This model revealed that Nilotic-sourced littoral sand, intermittently transported inland by wind, has either been lithified into aeolianite or pedogenized into orange–brown palaeosol from about 100 ka to 8 ka. Dark silty clay wetlands were deposited between the aeolian coastal ridges adjacent to streams which cut the Israeli coastal plain and flow westward, from the Last Glacial Maximum until the onset of the Holocene. These units are topped by beach and aeolian quartz sand dated to 6.6–0.1 ka. Diachronous thicknesses and lithological dissimilarities were identified between the sections studied and previous reports on adjacent coastal aeolianite ridges. Streams were found to be a dominant control on the stratigraphical composition and related facies architecture due to fluvial-induced erosion. Consequently, the relief variations between the lowland and cliff controlled aeolian pedogenesis as well as alluvial processes from about 80 to 5 ka. Climate, mainly influenced by precipitation and dust input, induced pedogenic processes; while sea level lowstand during the Last Glacial Maximum is shown to have hindered sediment deposition in the shallow offshore, which in turn affected aeolian transport, reducing sediment accumulation on the palaeo-coastal plain. The palaeoenvironmental model presented in the current study serves as an example for understanding the evolution of similar low-latitude siliciclastic-rich low-gradient shelf-coastal areas during the last glacial-interglacial cycle. Furthermore, it demonstrates the influence of local to global forcing factors on these environments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)503-519
Number of pages17
JournalPalaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology
StatePublished - 15 Feb 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Aeolianite cliff
  • Coastal lowlands
  • Eastern Mediterranean
  • Quaternary-landscape evolution
  • Siliciclastic sequence
  • Stratigraphic architecture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Paleontology


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