The evidence that the Dead Sea rift has existed as a zone of crustal weakness since Precambrian time is critically examined based on (i) the distribution and abundance of dykes in the Precambrian basement and (ii) the distribution of the Lower Cambrian basal conglomerates. It is shown that dyke and clastic sediment occurrence is not preferentially associated with the modern rift zone, and thus that some earlier tectonic interpretations must now be discounted.

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