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Pliocene–Pleistocene palaeoclimate reconstruction from Ashalim Cave speleothems, Negev Desert, Israel

By
Anton Vaks
Anton Vaks
1
Geological Survey of Israel, 30 Malchei Israel Street, Jerusalem 9550161, Israel
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Miryam Bar-Matthews
Miryam Bar-Matthews
1
Geological Survey of Israel, 30 Malchei Israel Street, Jerusalem 9550161, Israel
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Avner Ayalon
Avner Ayalon
1
Geological Survey of Israel, 30 Malchei Israel Street, Jerusalem 9550161, Israel
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Alan Matthews
Alan Matthews
2
Institute of Earth Sciences, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem 9190401, Israel
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Amos Frumkin
Amos Frumkin
2
Institute of Earth Sciences, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem 9190401, Israel
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Published:
January 01, 2018

Abstract

Speleothems from Ashalim Cave, located in the arid central Negev Desert, Israel, were used in a reconstruction of the palaeoclimate of the northern Saharan–Arabian desert margin. The sequence of speleothems is composed of three stratigraphic members: the yellow Pliocene Basal Member, the brown Early Pleistocene Intermediate Member and the thin Middle–Late Pleistocene Young Member. The age of the Basal Member is c. 3.1 Ma and the base of the Intermediate Member is 1.272 ± 0.018 Ma. Two last deposition periods of the Young Member occurred at 221–190 ka (Negev Humid Period (NHP) 2) and 134–114 ka (NHP-1), associated with interglacial marine isotopic stages 7.3–7.1 and 5.5, respectively. NHP-1 and -2 occurred when the African monsoon index was highest in the last 221 ka. The δ18O values of the speleothems range between −6.9 and −11.2‰, 2–4‰ less than in the speleothems of central and northern Israel. This may indicate a remote southern tropical source of precipitation, although during NHP-1 and -2 the thickness of the Negev Desert speleothems decreases from north to south, showing a stronger northern Mediterranean source of moisture. The δ13C values of the speleothems (3.5 to −8.5‰) show steppe to semi-desert C4 type vegetation. The 87Sr/86Sr ratios of the speleothems increased from c. 0.7078 in the Pliocene to 0.7082–0.7085 in the Pleistocene, indicating an increasing supply of desert dust and a decrease in host rock weathering.

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Geological Society, London, Special Publications

Advances in Karst Research: Theory, Fieldwork and Applications
CONTAINS OPEN ACCESS

M. Parise
M. Parise
University Aldo Moro, Italy
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F. Gabrovsek
F. Gabrovsek
Karst Research Institute ZRC SAZU, Slovenia
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G. Kaufmann
G. Kaufmann
Freie Universität Berlin, Germany
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N. Ravbar
N. Ravbar
Karst Research Institute ZRC SAZU, Slovenia
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Geological Society of London
Volume
466
ISBN electronic:
9781786203786
Publication date:
January 01, 2018

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