Last Glacial warm events on Mount Hermon: the southern extension of the Alpine karst range of the east Mediterranean


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January 2013


This study focuses on warm Last Glacial episodes in the southernmost extension of the Alpine karst range of the Eastern Mediterranean (Levant) region through the study speleothems in Mizpe Shelagim Cave, located in Mt. Hermon. The Alpine karst range extends from Turkey through Syria and Lebanon, reaching its southern limit in Mt. Hermon at an elevation of more than 2000 m. Under present-day conditions, southern Mt. Hermon receives 1000–2000 mm precipitation, mostly as snow, that originates in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea. Speleothems deposition in this high altitude region was continuous during interglacials, but during the Last Glacial growth occurred when average annual temperatures exceeded ∼3 °C as inferred from the study of speleothem fluid inclusions. Warming episodes occurred at: ∼65 ka, ∼56 ka, 54.5 ka, ∼52.5–51 ka, ∼49 ka, ∼42 ka, and ∼36 ka and are coincident with maximum insolation at 65 °N. The main depositional period from ∼56 ka to 51 ka coincides with Dansgaard–Oeschger interstadial 15 and 14, and warming in the northeastern basin of the Mediterranean Sea. Warming in the southern Alpine karst range of the Eastern Mediterranean was manifested by vegetation development, together with significant snow melting that resulted in the drainage of large amount of water to the Dead Sea Rift Valley.


Speleothems, Paleoclimate, Hermon Mountain, Alpine Karst, Dead Sea Rift Valley

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Quaternary Science, Vol. 59, no. 3 (2013-01-01).