Revised chronology of the ICDP Dead Sea deep drill core relates drier-wetter-drier climate cycles to insolation over the past 220 kyr

Steven L. Goldstein, Yael Kiro, Adi Torfstein, Hiroyuki Kitagawa, Jessica Tierney, Mordechai Stein

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21 Scopus citations


The Dead Sea Deep Drilling Project drilled 456 meters into the deepest floor of the Dead Sea and recovered a record of the past ∼220 kyr of the Levant hydroclimate history, that is, Marine Isotope Stages 1–7, including the last three interglacials and the last two glacials. We present an updated chronology of the core from DSDDP Hole 5017-1-A, from the Dead Sea's deepest basin, that refines our previous chronology (Torfstein et al. 2015) based on new information. The updated chronology uses the following approaches: (1) radiocarbon ages of Kitagawa et al. (2017); (2) correlation of specific layers in the core with U–Th-dated sediments on the Dead Sea margin, particularly during the interval of glacial Lake Lisan (MIS 2,3,4); (3) tuning of the δ18O data of DSDDP core aragonite to the U–Th dated oxygen isotopes of regional cave speleothems; and (4) tuning of the DSDDP aragonite δ18O data to summer insolation curves when the cave δ18O chronology is less clear. The updated chronology reveals a strong relationship between the sedimentary facies comprising the core and Northern Hemisphere summer insolation variations. It shows that sequences of sediments marking drier/wetter/drier climate conditions in the lake's watershed (e.g., salt/muds/salt, respectively) appear across the flank/peak/flank segments of several summer insolation peaks. In particular, the transition from drier to wetter sedimentary facies during mid-latitude insolation peaks coincides with the intervals of sapropel conditions in the Mediterranean, reflecting enhanced Nile flow due to intense African monsoonal conditions, and marking the impact of the tropical precession cycles on Eastern Mediterranean hydroclimate. This pattern was lost during MIS 2,3,4, when mostly sequences of primary aragonite are punctuated by gypsum precipitation during Heinrich events, marking the strong impact of the North Atlantic on the last glacial Levant hydroclimate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number106460
JournalQuaternary Science Reviews
StatePublished - Sep 15 2020


  • Chronology
  • Eastern Mediterranean
  • Hydroclimate
  • ICDP drilling
  • Insolation
  • Levant
  • Paleoclimatology
  • Quaternary
  • Radiocarbon
  • Sapropels
  • U–Th dating

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology
  • Geology


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