Landscape Evolution along the Dead Sea Fault and its Margins

Ari Matmon, Ezra Zilberman

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The landscape of Israel is a product of ancient exhumed structures and Neogene- Pleistocene tectonics related to the Dead Sea fault (DSF). Early on the DSF was dominated by lateral motion. Deep depressions along the fault formed ~10 million years later, triggering the formation of the present topography. The present topography and drainage systems of the western margin of the DSF begun evolving during the early Pliocene, ~4 Ma, and continued into the Quaternary. The development of the DSF inland base level was accompanied by the development of bounding rift escarpments and uplift tens of kilometers away from the plate boundary, which then resulted in disconnection of water passages to the Mediterranean and the establishment of the North-South oriented water divide. The initiation of major relief buildup after millions of years of dominating lateral slip is probably the expression of changes in the relative motion between the Arabian and African plates. Studies indicate that the present morphology and relief reached their present form at 1.6-2.0 Ma. The present topography set the physical and ecological conditions for the human-related Quaternary history of the region.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationQuaternary of the Levant
Subtitle of host publicationEnvironments, Climate Change, and Humans
EditorsYehouda Enzel, Ofer Bar-Yosef
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781316106754
ISBN (Print)9781107090460
StatePublished - 2017

RAMBI Publications

  • Rambi Publications
  • Geochemistry -- Dead Sea (Israel and Jordan)
  • Geology, Structural -- Dead Sea (Israel and Jordan)
  • Geophysics -- Dead Sea (Israel and Jordan)


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