Complex exposure histories of chert clasts in the late Pleistocene shorelines of Lake Lisan, southern Israel

Ari Matmon*, Onn Crouvi, Yehouda Enzel, Paul Bierman, Jennifer Larsen, Naomi Porat, Rivka Amit, Marc Caffee

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Activities of 26Al and 10Be in five chert clasts sampled from two beach ridges of late Pleistocene Lake Lisan, precursor of the Dead Sea in southern Israel, indicate low rates of chert bedrock erosion and complex exposure, burial, and by inference, transport histories. The chert clasts were derived from the Senonian Mishash Formation, a chert-bearing chalk, which is widely exposed in the Nahal Zin drainage basin, the drainage system that supplied most of the material to the beach ridges. Simple exposure ages, assuming only exposure at the beach ridge sampling sites, range from 35 to 354 ky; using the ratio 26Al/10Be, total clast histories range from 0.46 to 4.3 My, unrelated to the clasts' current position and exposure period on the late Pleistocene beach ridges, 160-177 m below sea level. Optically stimulated luminescence dating of fine sediments from the same and nearby beach ridges yielded ages of 20.0 ± 1.4 ka and 36.1 ± 3.3 ka. These ages are supported by the degree of soil development on the beach ridges and correspond well with previously determined ages of Lake Lisan, which suggest that the lake reached its highest stand around 27 000 cal. years BP. If the clasts were exposed only once and than buried beyond the range of significant cosmogenic nuclide production, then the minimum initial exposure and the total burial times before delivery to the beach ridge are in the ranges 50-1300 ky and 390-3130 ky respectively. Alternatively, the initial cosmogenic dosing could have occured during steady erosion of the source bedrock. Back calculating such rates of rock erosion suggests values between 0.4 and 12 m My-1. The relatively long burial periods indicate extended sediment storage as colluvium on slopes and/or as alluvial deposits in river terraces. Some clasts may have been stored for long periods in abandoned Pliocene and early Pleistocene routes of Nahal Zin to the Mediterranean before being transported again back into the Nahal Zin drainage system and washed on to the shores of Lake Lisan during the late Pleistocene.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)493-506
Number of pages14
JournalEarth Surface Processes and Landforms
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2003


  • Alluvial storage
  • Cosmogenic nuclides
  • Lake Lisan
  • Shorelines


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