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ICDP Proposal Abstract

© ICDP, the International Continental Scientific Drilling Program, 1996-2023 -

ICDP Proposal Page
Dead Sea Deep Drilling Project
Asia, Israel, Jordan, Dead Sea
Revised Full-proposal: ICDP-2009/05
For the funding-period starting 2009-01-15
The Dead Sea Basin (DSB), the lowest continental elevation on Earth, has been intermittently filled by several water-bodies during the Neogene-Quaternary periods. The DSB evolved in relation to the tectonic activity along the Dead Sea Transform, which in turn relates to the breakup of the Arabian plate. The sedimentary fill of the DSB comprises an archive of the limnological- hydrological-seismic histories of the region, which are modulated by global climate and rift- transform fault tectonics. We propose to recover these histories through a deep drill core in the deep northern basin of the Dead Sea. Combined with the information obtained from the exposed (on-shore) sedimentary sections, the core will provide high-resolution paleo-climatic and paleo- seismic records of the DSB for the past several glacial-interglacial cycles. The seismic information will be integrated with that of basin development and rift tectonics, and the paleo-hydrological and paleo-climate information will be integrated and evaluated in framework of global climate modeling. The proposed drilling operation succeeds several decades of extensive study in the Dead Sea basin (from the early works of D. Neev and W. Broecker). Over the past decade we have established strong working team from several institutes: Hebrew and Tel Aviv Universities, the Geological and Geophysical Surveys of Israel, GFZ, MPI, LDEO, and ETH. The activity of these groups has led to development of new geochemical approaches, absolute dating methods, lake level reconstruction, paleomagnetism and cosmogenic isotope studies, and pioneering paleoseismic studies. These scientific groups will lead the research on the drill cores using excellent analytical facilities. Finally, the Dead Sea Basin has been a major route of human migration and development, and the modern Dead Sea has enormous economic importance. The proposed research will make an important contribution to the understanding of the environmental conditions that accompanied human development during the middle to late Quaternary and will help shaping the future of the DSB.
Scientific Objectives
  • Recover the sedimentary history of the Dead Sea basin (DSB) during the past several hundred thousand years or more (thus covering several glacial-interglacial intervals).
  • Reconstruct in high-resolution (millennial-decadal-annual) the geochemical- sedimentological- limnological (e.g. level changes) history of the lakes and establish the climatic history of the region over the past several glacial-interglacial climatic cycles.
  • Establish the paleohydrology of the drainage area: explore the brine-freshwater relations during the existence of the different lakes.
  • Establish the behavior of abrupt hydrological-limnological events (e.g. catastrophic drying or rising of the lakes).
  • Compare the limnological-hydrological history of the Dead Sea water-bodies with regional and global climatic records: e.g. Red Sea, Mediterranean, Atlantic deep-sea cores, ice cores and other lake records along the African-Syrian rift and integrate the information within comprehensive global paleoclimatic models.
  • Establish the paleomagnetic history of the Dead Sea basin, including secular variation curves and geomagnetic excursions (e.g. the Laschamp excursion event).
  • Establish a high-resolution paleoseismic record (by identification and dating of disturbed sedimentary sequences).
  • Investigate the tectonic and subsidence history of the Dead Sea basin during the late Quaternary.
  • Investigate the relation between human culture development and climatic changes in the region.
  • Integrate the data obtained from the proposed drill cores with those derived from previous drilling operations and land exposures to evaluate potential environmental risks such as destabilization and collapse of the lake-shores, regional earthquakes, catastrophic floods, aridity, groundwater-saline water interaction and the fate of the Dead Sea and its drainage system.
Asia, Dead Sea, Dead Sea Basin, DSB, DSDDP, Human Migration, ICDP-2009/05, Israel, Jordan, Lake Drilling, Paleoclimate, Paleoseismology, Rift Tectonics
Latitude: 31.50805, Longitude: 35.4712167

© ICDP, the International Continental Scientific Drilling Program, 1996-2023