Soils as a tool for estimating ages of quaternary fault scarps in a hyperarid environment - The southern Arava valley, the dead sea rift, Israel

R. Amit*, J. B.J. Harrison, Y. Enzel, N. Porat

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations

Abstract

On the alluvial fan of Nahal Shehoret in the extremely arid region of the Negev desert, Israel, Reg soils developed on stable alluvial surfaces in colluvium along terrace risers and in colluvial units on a complex fault scarp were compared. The degree of soil profile development provided an age estimate of the surface that was faulted, a maximum age estimate of the scarp or terrace riser, and an estimate of the maximum recurrence intervals of faulting events. IRSL dates of the tectonically displaced alluvial surfaces and colluvial units at the same site enabled us to re-evaluate the use of Reg soils for relative dating. The major faulting event started at 34.8 ± 4.3 ka. It displaced a late Pleistocene surface of the Nahal Shehoret alluvial fan dated at 56 ± 10.8 ka. Renewed fluvial activity and deposition of alluvium on the downfaulted block had almost terminated by 13.6 ± 2.3 ka. The scarp was formed during the latest Pleistocene and was followed by smaller faulting events which had only minor effects on the fault scarp morphology. The similarity of age estimates from IRSL dating and the degree of soil development in this environment indicates that soils can he used to date surfaces and colluvial units.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)21-45
Number of pages25
JournalCatena
Volume28
Issue number1-2
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1996

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Y. Weiler and the Licensing Division of the Israeli Atomic Energy Commission for their ongoing financial support and encouragement. IRSL was measured at the Luminescence Dating Laboratory of the University of Wales, Aberystwyth. We thank Dr. A.G. Wintle for her help and for the use of these facilities. We are grateful to the reviewers for their constructive comments, Anat Altman for drafting and B. Katz for her valuable review.

Keywords

  • Reg soil
  • colluvium
  • fault scarp
  • soil catena
  • stable surfaces
  • terrace riser

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