Skip to main content Accessibility help
Hostname: page-component-848d4c4894-wg55d Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-05-27T04:41:57.480Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

50 - Evolution of the Southeastern Mediterranean Coastal Plain

from Part V: - Quaternary Geomorphology

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  04 May 2017

Yehouda Enzel
Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Ofer Bar-Yosef
Harvard University, Massachusetts
Get access


Field surveys, chronology, geology, geomorphology, pedology and archaeological records were used in comprehensive synthesis outlining the evolution of the Israeli Coastal Plain under late Quaternary sea level changes. We discuss buried soil-stratigraphy vs. sediments, sand dunes, and the formation of the observed topography and terrain morphology. This synthesis indicates that extensive sand field active during eustatic sea regression were stabilized during glacial maxima by vegetation; this was followed by pedogenesis and erosion of fine eolian sediments into depressions. During interglacials, additional sand accumulated covering regressive deposits. During interglacial, the sedimentation is followed by erosion under coastal cliff activity and incision of the fluvial systems due to high gradient and stream capturing. This sequence of glacial-interglacial scale processes results in east to west accretion of the Quaternary Coastal Plain, forming the typical series of coast parallel relict sedimentary ridges (complexes) and fluvial-filled troughs.
Quaternary of the Levant
Environments, Climate Change, and Humans
, pp. 433 - 446
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2017

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


Almog, R. 2011. The Water Regime at the Interdune of the Southern Coastal Plain, Israel. Unpublished Ph.D. thesis, Hebrew University of Jerusalem [Hebrew].Google Scholar
Bar, O. 2009. The Shaping of the Continental Margin of Central Israel since the Late Eocene – Tectonics, Morphology and Stratigraphy. Unpublished Ph.D. thesis, Hebrew University of Jerusalem [Hebrew].Google Scholar
Cohen-Seffer, R., Greenbaum, N., Sivan, D. et al. 2005. Late Pleistocene–Holocene marsh episodes along the Carmel Coast, Israel. Quaternary International 140: 103–20.Google Scholar
Crouvi, O., Amit, R., Enzel, Y., Porat, N. & Sandler, A. 2008. Sand dunes as a major proximal dust source for late Pleistocene loess in the Negev Desert, Israel. Quaternary Research 70: 275–82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Dan, J. 1966. The Effect of Relief on Soil Formation and Distribution in Israel. Unpublished Ph.D. thesis, Hebrew University of Jerusalem [Hebrew].Google Scholar
Dan, J. 1983. Soil chronosequences in Israel. Catena 10: 287319.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Dan, J. 1990. The effect of dust deposition on the soils of the land of Israel. Quaternary International 5: 107–13.Google Scholar
Dan, J. & Raz, Z. 1975. Soil Associations of Israel. Supplement to the Map Associations of Israel, 1:250,000. Ministry of Agriculture, The Agricultural Research Administration [Hebrew].Google Scholar
Dan, J., & Yaalon, D.H. 1966. Trends of soil development with time in the Mediterranean environments of Israel. In Transactions of the International Conference on Mediterranean Soils, Madrid, Spain, pp. 139–45.Google Scholar
Dan, J. & Yaalon, D.H. 1968. Pedomorphic forms and pedomorphic surfaces. In Transactions of the 9th International Congress of Soil Science, Adelaide 4: 577–84.Google Scholar
Dan, J. & Yaalon, D.H. 1971. On the origin and nature of the paleopedo-logical formations in the coastal, desert fringe areas of Israel. In Paleopedology, Transactions of Symposium on Age of Parent Materials and Soils. Jerusalem: The International Society of Soil Science and Israel Universities Press, pp. 245–60.Google Scholar
Dan, J. & Yaalon, D.H. 1976. Origin and distribution of soils and landscapes in the Pleshet Plain. Studies in the Geography of Israel 9: 3674 [Hebrew].Google Scholar
Dan, J., Yaalon, D.H. & Koyumdji, H. 1969. Catenary soil relationships in Israel. 1. Netanya Catena on coastal dunes of Sharon. Geoderma 2: 95120.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Danin, A. & Yaalon, D.H. 1982. Silt plus clay sedimentation and decalcification during plant succession in sands of the Mediterranean coastal area of Israel. Israel Journal of Earth Sciences 31: 101–9.Google Scholar
Davis, M. 2012. Burial Dating of Continental Sediments Using In-Situ Cosmogenic Isotopes: Testing the Impact of Environmental Conditions at Various Geological Settings. Unpublished Ph.D. thesis, Hebrew University of Jerusalem.Google Scholar
Davis, M., Matmon, A., Rood, D.H. & Avnaim-Katav, S. 2012. Constant cosmogenic nuclide concentrations in sand supplied from the Nile River over the past 2.5 m.y. Geology 40: 359–62.Google Scholar
Ecker, A. 1999. Atlas of selected geological cross-sections and subsurface maps of the coastal aquifer of Israel. Geological Survey of Israel Report GSI/18/99 [Hebrew].Google Scholar
Eig, A. 1933. A historical-phytosocioIogical essay on Palestinian forests of Quercus aegilops L. ssp. ithaburensis (Desc.) in past and present. Beihefte zum Botanischen Centralblatt 51: 222–72.Google Scholar
Emery, K. & Neev, D. 1960. Mediterranean beaches of Israel. Geological Survey of Israel Bulletin 26: 123.Google Scholar
Engelmann, A. 2004. Aeolianites and palaeosols in Israel: Luminescence chronology and relationship with eastern Mediterranean climates. Unpublished Ph.D. thesis, University of Gloucestershire.Google Scholar
Engelmann, A., Neber, A., Frechen, M. et al. 2001. Luminescence chronology of Upper Pleistocene and Holocene aeolianites from Netanya South – Sharon Coastal Plain, Israel. Quaternary Science Reviews 20: 799804.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Enzel, Y., Amit, R., Dayan, U. et al. 2008. The climatic and physiographic controls of the eastern Mediterranean over the late Pleistocene climates in the southern Levant and its neighboring deserts. Global and Planetary Change 60: 16592.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Frechen, M., Dermann, B., Boenigk, W. & Ronen, A. 2001. Luminescence chronology of aeolianites from the section at Givat Olga – Coastal Plain of Israel. Quaternary Science Reviews 20: 805–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Frechen, M., Neber, A., Dermann, B. et al. 2002. Chronostratigraphy of aeolianites from the Sharon Coastal Plain of Israel. Quaternary International 89: 3144.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Frechen, M., Neber, A., Tsatskin, A., Boenigk, W. & Ronen, A. 2004. Chronology of Pleistocene sedimentary cycles in the Carmel Coastal Plain of Israel. Quaternary International 121: 4152.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Galili, E., Zviely, D., Ronen, A. & Mienis, H.K. 2007. Beach deposits of MIS 5e high sea stand as indicators for tectonic stability of the Carmel coastal plain, Israel. Quaternary Science Reviews 26: 2544–57.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gavish, E., & Friedman, G. 1969. Progressive diagenesis in Quaternary to Late Tertiary carbonate sediments: Sequence and time scale. Journal of Sedimentary Petrology 39: 9801006.Google Scholar
Godfrey-Smith, D.I., Vaughan, K.B., Gopher, A. & Barkai, R. 2003. Direct luminescence chronology of the Epipaleolithic Kebaran site of Nahal Hadera V, Israel. Geoarchaeology 18: 461–75.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gvirtzman, G. & Buchbinder, B. 1969. Outcrops of Neogene Formation in the central and southern coastal plain, Hashphela and Be'er Sheva regions. Geological Survey of Israel Bulletin 50.Google Scholar
Gvirtzman, G. & Wieder, M. 2001. Climate of the last 53,000 years in the eastern Mediterranean, based on soil-sequence stratigraphy in the coastal plain of Israel. Quaternary Science Reviews 20: 1827–49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gvirtzman, G., Bakler, N., Ilani, S. & Shachnai, E. 1984. Stratigraphy of the Kurkar Group (Quaternary) of the coastal plain of Israel. Geological Survey of Israel Current Research 1983–84: 7082. Jerusalem: Israel Geological Survey.Google Scholar
Gvirtzman, G., Martinotti, G. & Moshkovitz, S. 1997. Stratigraphy of the Plio-Pleistocene sequence of the Mediterranean coastal belt of Israel and its implications for the evolution of the Nile cone. In The Pleistocene Boundary and the Beginning of the Quaternary, ed. Van Couvering, J.A.. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 156–68.Google Scholar
Gvirtzman, G., Wieder, M., Marder, O. et al. 1999. Geological and pedological aspects of an Early-Paleolithic site: Revadim, Central Coastal Plain, Israel. Geoarchaeology 14: 101–26.3.0.CO;2-1>CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gvirtzman, Z., Steinberg, J., Bar, O. et al. 2011. Retreating Late Tertiary shorelines in Israel: Implications for the exposure of north Arabia and Levant during Neotethys closure. Lithosphere 3: 95109.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Harel, M., Amit, R., Porat, N. & Enzel, Y. 2011. Buried and Relict Sandy Soils as Samplers of Quaternary Dust in the Central Coastal Plain, Israel. Annual meeting. Israel Geological Society, Mitzpe Ramon.Google Scholar
Harel, M., Amit, R., Enzel, Y. & Porat, N. 2012. Complex Landscape Evolution of the Central Coastal Plain (Israel) Based on Buried and Relict Surfaces. Annual meeting. Israel Geological Society, Ashkelon.Google Scholar
Horowitz, A. 1979. The Quaternary of Israel. New York/London: Academic Press.Google Scholar
Issar, A. 1961. Geology of the Subsurface Water Resource of the Shefela and Sharon Areas. PM Report 307. Tel Aviv: Tahal Water Planning for Israel, Ltd, pp. 143.Google Scholar
Itzhaki, Y. 1961. Contribution to the study of the Pleistocene in the coastal plain of Israel. Geological Survey of Israel Bulletin 32: 19.Google Scholar
Katz, O. & Mushkin, A. 2013. Characteristics of sea-cliff erosion induced by a strong winter storm in the eastern Mediterranean. Quaternary Research 80: 2032.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Marriner, N., Morhange, C., Borschneck, D. & Flaux, C. 2012. Holocene sedimentary sources in southern Lebanon, eastern Mediterranean. Quaternary International 266: 105–16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Mauz, B., Hijma, M.P., Amorosi, A. et al. 2013. Aeolian beach ridges and their significance for climate and sea level: Concept and insight from the Levant coast (east Mediterranean). Earth-Science Reviews 121: 3154.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Menashe, R. 2003. The Stratigraphy and Paleo-geography of Tel-Sheruhen Section, Western Negev-North, Israel. Unpublished M.Sc. thesis, Hebrew University of Jerusalem.Google Scholar
Neber, A. 2002. Sedimentological Properties of Quaternary Deposits on the Central Coastal Plain, Israel. Unpublished Ph.D. thesis, University of Haifa.Google Scholar
Nir, D. 1970. Geomorphology of Israel. Jerusalem: Academon Press [Hebrew].Google Scholar
Porat, N. 2001. Ages of Kurkar, Hamra and Sands in the Coastal Plain, Results of Dating by Luminescence Techniques. Jerusalem: Israel Geological Survey report.Google Scholar
Porat, N. & Ronen, A. 2002. Luminescence and ESR age determinations of the Lower Paleolithic site Evron Quarry, Israel. Advances in ESR Applications 18: 123–30.Google Scholar
Porat, N., Zhou, L.P., Chazan, M., Noy, T. & Horwitz, L.K. 1999. Dating the lower Paleolithic open-air site of Holon, Israel by luminescence and ESR techniques. Quaternary Research 51: 328–41.Google Scholar
Porat, N., Avital, A., Frechen, M. & Almogi-Labin, A. 2003. Chronology of upper Quaternary offshore successions from the southeastern Mediterranean Sea, Israel. Quaternary Science Reviews 22: 1191–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Porat, N., Wintle, A.G. & Ritte, M. 2004. Mode and timing of kurkar and hamra formation, central coastal plain, Israel. Israel Journal of Earth Sciences 53: 1325.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Porat, N., Duller, G.A.T., Roberts, H.M. & Wintle, A.G. 2009. A simplified SAR protocol for TT-OSL. Radiation Measurements 44: 538–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Porat, N., Ronen, A., Jain, M. & Horvitz, L.K. 2013. Dating the Middle Paleolithic Mousterian site at Atlit, Israel. In UK Luminescence and ESR Meeting, 28–30 August 2013, University of St Andrews, Poster Presentations.Google Scholar
Rim, M. 1950. Sand and soil in the coastal plain of Israel. Israel Exploration Journal 1: 3348.Google Scholar
Ritte, M. 1998. Stratigraphy of the Coastal Cliff of the Sharon: Environments of Deposition and Luminescence Dating. Unpublished M.Sc. thesis, Hebrew University of Jerusalem.Google Scholar
Rizzini, A., Vezzani, F., Cococcetta, V. & Milad, G. 1978. Stratigraphy and sedimentation of a Neogene–Quaternary section in the Nile Delta area. Marine Geology 27: 327–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Ron, H. & Gvirtzman, G. 2001. Magnetostratigraphy of Ruhama badland Quaternary deposits: A new age of the Lower Paleolithic site. Abstracts of the Annual Meeting of Israel Geological Society, Eilat. Jerusalem: Israel Geological Society.Google Scholar
Ron, H., Porat, N., Ronen, A., Tchernov, E. & Horwitz, L.K. 2003. Magnetostratigraphy of the Evron Member – implications for the age of the Middle Acheulian site of Evron Quarry. Journal of Human Evolution, 44: 633–9.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Roskin, J., Porat, N., Tsoar, H., Blumberg, D.G., & Zander, A.M. 2011. Age, origin and climatic controls on vegetated linear dunes in the northwestern Negev Desert (Israel). Quaternary Science Reviews 30: 1649–74.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Schattner, U., Lazar, M., Tibor, G., Ben-Avraham, Z. & Makovsky, Y. 2010. Filling up the shelf – a sedimentary response to the last post-glacial sea rise. Marine Geology 278: 165–76.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Sivan, D. & Porat, N. 2004. Evidence from luminescence for late Pleistocene formation of calcareous aeolianite (kurkar) and palaeosol (hamra) in the Carmel coast, Israel. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 211: 95106.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Sivan, D., Gvirtzman, G. & Sass, E. 1999. Quaternary stratigraphy and paleogeography of the Galilee coastal plain, Israel. Quaternary Research 51: 280–94.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Sivan, D., Wdowinski, S., Lambeck, K., Galili, E. & Raban, A. 2001. Holocene sea-level changes along the Mediterranean coast of Israel, based on archaeological observations and numerical model. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 167: 101–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Tsatskin, A. & Ronen, A. 1999. Micromorphology of a Mousterian paleosol in aeolianites at the site Habonim, Israel. Catena 34: 365–84.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Tsatskin, A., Gendler, T.S., Heller, F., Dekman, I. & Frey, G.L. 2009. Towards understanding paleosols in southern Levantine eolianites: Integration of micromorphology, environmental magnetism and mineralogy. Journal of Mountain Science 6: 113–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Tsatskin, A., Sandler, A. & Porat, N. 2013. Toposequence of sandy soils in the northern coastal plain of Israel: Polygenesis and complexity of pedogeomorphic development. Geoderma 197198: 8797.Google Scholar
Tsoar, H. 2000. Geomorphology and palaeogeography of sand dunes that have formed the kurkar ridges in the coastal plain of Israel. Israel Journal of Earth Science 49: 189–96.Google Scholar
Tsoar, H. & Blumberg, D.G. 1991. The effect of sea cliffs on inland encroachment of aeolian sand. In Aeolian Grain Transport 2, ed. Barndorff-Nielsen, O.E., Willetts, B.B., Christiansen, C. et al. Springer, pp. 131–46.Google Scholar
Tsoar, H. & Blumberg, D.G. 2002. Formation of parabolic dunes from barchan and transverse dunes along Israel's Mediterranean coast. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms 27: 1147–61.Google Scholar
Wang, X.L., Lu, Y.C., & Wintle, A.G. 2006. Recuperated OSL dating of fine-grained quartz in Chinese loess. Quaternary Geochronology 1: 89100.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Wieder, M., Gvirtzman, G., Porat, N. et al. 2008. Paleosols of the southern coastal plain of Israel. Journal of Plant Nutrition and Soil Science – Zeitschrift fur Pflanzenernahrung und Bodenkunde 171: 533–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Wintle, A.G. 2008. Luminescence dating: where it has been and where it is going. Boreas 37: 471–82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Yaalon, D.H. 2007. Human-induced ecosystem and landscape processes always involve soil change. BioScience 57: 918.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Yaalon, D.H. & Dan, J. 1967. Factors controlling soil formation and distribution in the Mediterranean Coastal Plain of Israel during the Quaternary. In Quaternary Soils: Proceedings of the 7th INQUA Congress 1965, ed. Morrison, R.B. & Wright, H.E.. Reno: University of Nevada, pp. 321–8.Google Scholar
Yaalon, D.H. & Ganor, E. 1973. The influence of dust on soils during the Quaternary. Soil Science 116: 146–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Yaalon, D.H. & Laronne, J. 1971. Internal structures in eolianites and paleo-winds, Mediterranean coast, Israel. Journal of Sedimentary Petrology 41: 1059–64.Google Scholar

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats