Quaternary lake levels in the Dead Sea basin: Two centuries of research

R. Bookman*, Y. Bartov, Y. Enzel, M. Stein

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

91 Scopus citations


This paper reviews the research and lake level reconstruction of the late Pleistocene and Holocene lakes in the Dead Sea basin. Lake Lisan and the Dead Sea occupied the Dead Sea basin during the past 70 k.y., and responded to and amplifi ed regional climatological variations in the Eastern Mediterranean. Overall, the lake level history is correlative with global climate patterns. The Lake Lisan high levels correspond to the last Glacial period (marine isotope stages 2-4); its dramatic level drop to the transition to the Holocene, and the Dead Sea low stands to the current interglacial period. The Lisan level record also appears to show relationships to millennial events in Greenland ice and deep-sea cores. The paper describes the methodologies applied to identify indicators of lake level elevations and the determination of their ages. It is divided to (1) the early research history (mainly commencing at the nineteenth century) in the Dead Sea basin; (2) the early efforts of lake level curve reconstructions; and (3) the most recent studies that yield well-dated, high resolution lake level chronologies.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)155-170
Number of pages16
JournalSpecial Paper of the Geological Society of America
StatePublished - 2006


  • Climate change
  • Dead sea basin
  • Holocene
  • Lake levels
  • Pleistocene


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