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Sand dunes as a major proximal dust source for late Pleistocene loess in the Negev Desert, Israel

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 January 2017

Onn Crouvi*
Geological Survey of Israel, 30 Malkhe Israel Street, Jerusalem 95501, Israel Institute of Earth Sciences, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem 91904, Israel
Rivka Amit
Geological Survey of Israel, 30 Malkhe Israel Street, Jerusalem 95501, Israel
Yehouda Enzel
Institute of Earth Sciences, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem 91904, Israel
Naomi Porat
Geological Survey of Israel, 30 Malkhe Israel Street, Jerusalem 95501, Israel
Amir Sandler
Geological Survey of Israel, 30 Malkhe Israel Street, Jerusalem 95501, Israel
*Corresponding author. Fax: +972 2 5380688. E-mail (O. Crouvi).


Grain size analyses of three hilltop, primary eolian loess sequences in the Negev desert, southern Israel, show a bimodal grain-size distribution at 50–60 μm and 3–8 μm. Using analyses of mineralogy and OSL ages we demonstrate that the coarse mode is composed mostly of quartz grains and its relative magnitude increases regionally with time, suggesting an enhancement of a time-transgressive proximal dust source compared to a distal, Saharan fine-grain dust. The only proximal dust source for large amount of coarse silt quartz grains is the sands that advanced into Sinai and the Negev concurrently with the loess accretion during the late Pleistocene as a result of the exposure of the Mediterranean shelf. We therefore propose that the coarse silt quartz grains were formed through eolian abrasion within the margins of an advancing sand sea. This relationship between desert sand seas as a source for proximal coarse dust and desert margin loess deposits can be applicable to other worldwide deserts such as Northern Africa, China and Australia.

Short Paper
University of Washington

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