Displacement of springs and changes in groundwater flow regime due to the extreme drop in adjacent lake levels: The Dead Sea rift

Yehuda Levy*, Avihu Burg, Yoseph Yechieli, Haim Gvirtzman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Lake-level fluctuations brought on by climatic changes and anthropogenic factors may affect the flow regime in adjacent aquifers that discharge toward those lakes. Such fluctuations may also cause displacement of springs that discharge these aquifers. Using a calibrated numerical model, an extreme example of such phenomenon is observed in the Dead Sea rift valley and the adjacent Eastern Mountain Aquifer of the Judea and Samaria Mountains. Lake levels along the Dead Sea rift have changed dramatically and rapidly by hundreds of meters, followed by changes in the lake areas by hundreds of square kilometers. Simultaneously, the aquifer exhibited spring displacements, both on large and small scales. Currently, 50% of the aquifer water discharge in the Zuqim zone, and 10% north of the Dead Sea. But in the past, only 30% discharged at Zuqim and 40% north of the Dead Sea. There is evidence for such an occurrence in the past, and it is likely to recur in the future, based on the predicted progressive decline of the current Dead Sea level. This may have an impact on wetland habitats along the coast.

Original languageEnglish
Article number124928
JournalJournal of Hydrology
StatePublished - Aug 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Israel Water Authority and the Ministry of Energy . We thank A. Frumkin and Y. Enzel for the paleoclimate and geological insights, and M. Weiss and N. Avrahamov for their hydrological thoughts. Special thanks go to S. Wollman (R.I.P) for his assistance in the modeling work. Finally, we most gratefully acknowledge the very useful comments in the reviews by Peter Birkle and the four other anonymous reviewers.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Elsevier B.V.


  • Dead Sea
  • Flow regime
  • Groundwater modeling
  • Hydrogeology
  • Lake-level drop
  • Springs displacement

RAMBI Publications

  • Rambi Publications


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