Isotopic tracers of dust and loess in the Levant

Yigal Erel, Steven L. Goldstein, Adi Torfstein, Daniel Palchan, Michal Ben-Israel, Mordechai Stein

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


At the northern edge of Sahara-Arabia, dust settles in water-bodies or forms widespread loess. Sr, Pb, and Nd isotopic ratios determine sources of atmospheric dust to the Levant in these vast deserts. Combining results of contemporary storms, Sr-Nd isotopes and Mg/Al of Negev loess, fine-grained deposits in the Red Sea and from the Dead Sea indicate shifts in delivery synoptic systems. The samples Nd-Sr results are in-between the fields of (mostly) Proterozoic Sahara Shields, late Proterozoic Arabian Nubian Shield (ANS) and Nile sediments containing Neogene-Quaternary basaltic derived material. The relative fraction of each of the source end members in the final sinks reflects configurations of atmospheric-synoptic patterns and their delivery efficiencies, which in turn, are related to regional changes in climate. Easttern Mediterranean cold frontal depressions and Sharav cyclones deliver most of the dust from the Sahara; Red Sea trough delivers fine-grain material from the Red Sea region and is responsible for bringing dust from ANS rock sources. During intervals of more frequent occurrences of Red Sea trough, the isotopic composition of the dust shifted accordingly.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationQuaternary of the Levant
Subtitle of host publicationEnvironments, climate change, and humans
EditorsY. Enzel, O. Bar-Yosef
Place of PublicationCambridge
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages10
ISBN (Print)9781107090460
StatePublished - 2017

RAMBI Publications

  • Rambi Publications
  • Dust -- Middle East
  • Isotope geology -- Middle East
  • Loess -- Middle East


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