Radiocarbon Chronology of the Holocene Dead Sea: Attempting a Regional Correlation
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Holocene sedimentary and geomorphic sequences from the Dead Sea region, Israel, are compared by correlation of more than 50 radiocarbon dates. The 14C dates provided the chronological basis that enabled us to detect basin-scale events that are hard to ascertain in single-site records. This paper is the first attempt to compare different Holocene records from several sites along the Dead Sea, based on their chrono-stratigraphy. Included is the first publication of the paleoclimatic record of the Nahal Darga ephemeral stream valley. Such a regional compilation is needed, because the integration and comparative evaluation of several records can produce a reliable climatic history by establishing the height of former Dead Sea levels that may be complicated by tectonics and the rise of Mount Sedom. A relatively high level of the Holocene Dead Sea occurred during the mid-Holocene around 4400 BP or about 3000 cal BCE after calibration. The lake level fell sharply around 4000 BP, i.e. 2500 cal BCE, and later fluctuated close to early 20th century levels. The 14C-based correlation is also used to estimate the rising rates of the Mount Sedom salt diapir that are apparently smaller than 10 mm per year.