Late Pleistocene and Holocene tectonic deformation at the Gesher site, Kinnarot Valley, Dead Sea Rift

Shmuel Belitzky*, Yosef Garfinkel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The Gesher site is located in the Kinnarot Valley in the Dead Sea Rift, Israel. Excavations, at the site revealed in situ Pre-Pottery Neolithic A (∼10,000 years BP) and Middle Bronze Age (∼4,000 years BP) remains. Exposures produced during construction works and archaeocological excavations show a complex pattern of Late Pleistocene-Holocene faulting and tilting. The exposures at the Gesher site exhibit displacements on two discrete fault systems. The first is a normal displacement of about 1 m of Lisan Fm. deposits and the overlying Neolith layer on apparently E-W-trending faults. Most probably the faulting manifests a rejuvenation of displacement on the lateral extension of the E-W-trending normal fault the valley shoulders. The proposed timing of faulting is the age of the overlying sediments of the Fatza'el Mbr., 8,000-10,000 years BP. A second fault system shows at least two episodes of displacement on nearly N-S-trending faults. Faulting and tilting of Lisan Fm. deposits that produced disconformity in the upper layers suggest that the first stage of tectonic deformation on the western faults occurred during the existence of Lake Lisan. A sample of the Lisan Fm. located near the disconformity yielded 14C age of about 25,000 years BP. Post Fatza'el Mbr. displacements on the N-S faults manifest both normal faulting and tilting, and most probably a lateral slip, related to the motions along adjacent plate border faults or on the border faults of the Shomeron Triangle structure. The faults could produce earthquakes: the westward normal faulting and tilting at about 25,000 years BP and E-W normal faulting at about 10,000 years BP represent relatively strong seismic events that occurred before 8,000 years BP. Good preservation of fine remnants of the cultural laye r is attributed to rapid covering of the site area by a fresh-water body in which the fine sediments of the Fatza'el Mbr. were deposited. This provides an age of ∼10,000 years BP for the start of a wet climatic period during the Pleistocene-Holocene transition. The elevation of the Gesher site Neoli thic remains at -240 m rules out the possible existence of the Bet She'an Lake at that time.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)133-143
Number of pages11
JournalIsrael Journal of Earth Sciences
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2005


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