Calcareous aeolianite (kurkar) and red loamy paleosol (hamra) units form ridges in the northern coastal plain of Israel. The kurkar ridges with hamra units have been thought to be indicators of past sea levels and of palaeoclimate, though there has been no clear chronology that could correlate units from one ridge to another or to global palaeoclimate and sea level change. We obtained detailed stratigraphy and luminescence ages for the kurkar and hamra units that range from 35 to 101 ka, indicating coeval formation of these units during the Late Pleistocene. Independent dating suggests that hamra and similar loamy soils formed at ∼45 to ∼130 ka in the Habonim Quarry site at the eastern ridge, when kurkar that has been dated by us to 50-67 ka was deposited in the coastal trough, showing facies changes from west to east. The youngest ages for exposed kurkar in the Dor Islet at the coastal ridge, 35 and 38 ka, are close to the 35 ka age obtained independently for the upper kurkar near Atlit at the eastern ridge. At that time, when kurkar was deposited and cemented on the top of both ridges, a hamra, dated by us to 37 ka, formed in the coastal trough. Our results indicate that kurkar accumulated along the coastal plain at different time intervals throughout the Late Pleistocene, and that its deposition was not necessarily associated with high sea levels. Moreover, our data as well as previous research suggest that hamra also formed at different periods, sometimes synchronous with kurkar, and its formation is therefore not related to any particular climatic events.
- Late Pleistocene