Locally recycled late Pleistocene loess feeds modern dust storms at the desert margins of the eastern Mediterranean, Israel

Ohad Shalom, Onn Crouvi*, Yehouda Enzel, Daniel Rosenfeld

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Current dust storms, originating from afar, are common in Israel and the eastern Mediterranean, and thus most dust sources are considered to be distal. However, recent studies suggest that the latest Quaternary loess accreted in the Northern Negev can also serve as a proximal source of dust. These sources were mostly neglected in past discussions as contributors of dust. Here, we demonstrate that such proximal dust sources, mostly the Negev loess, currently contribute relatively large amounts of recycled dust to the regional dust cycle. We conducted a sampling campaign of deposited dust during individual dust storms and identified high content of coarse silt grains and quartzo-feldspathic minerals within and adjacent to the Negev loess that gradually decreases toward the north. These grains, characteristics of the Negev loess, indicate a short transport distance. In addition, our data reveal that local wind speed is the limiting factor for emitting proximal dust, regardless of the synoptic system. We determined that proximal sources in Israel emit dust during either local events or as a part of regional dust storms originating from afar. We evaluate the minimal contribution of this proximal dust to the total mass of deposited dust as 58–74%, 54–70%, 52–64%, and 26–34% for northern Negev, central Negev, central mountainous region, and northern Israel, respectively. These estimates indicate that at the desert fringe, both proximal and distal sources of dust should be considered when inferring dust sources from dust geochemistry that can sometimes be similar due to the long dust history.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number100612
JournalAeolian Research
StatePublished - Oct 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Elsevier B.V.


  • Desert loess
  • Levant
  • Middle East
  • Negev
  • Proximal dust sources


Dive into the research topics of 'Locally recycled late Pleistocene loess feeds modern dust storms at the desert margins of the eastern Mediterranean, Israel'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this