Landscapes of Nahal Yael, Southern Negev Desert

Judith Lekach

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter describes the landscape of a small watershed called Nahal Yael in southernmost Israel as the outcome of its climatic, geologic, hydrologic and geomorphologic conditions. The Precambrian crystalline rocks of the watershed and the hyper-arid climate of today and of the late Pleistocene create the unique conditions for weathering processes, mass movement on slopes and sediment transportSediment transport along the channels by flash foods. Understanding the evolution of landscape by the slow-motion operating processes in an arid environment like the watershed of Nahal Yael requires long-term measurements of rainfall, flow, sediment transported on slopes and in channels, otherwise, one might get the impression that the landscape is stagnant and that nothing happens in such a dry climate. Over fifty years of rainfall measurements reveal its high annual and spatial variability. Due to the high intensities, only few millimeters of rain are needed to initiate runoff on slopes and in channels. The flash floodsFlash flood created carry mostly bedload (60–70%), and rather small amounts (30–40%) of suspended load originated from slopes and channel. The source of bedload transported by nowadays floods is remnants of Quaternary landforms–talus slopes and terraces created probably during a wetter episode (35–27 Ka) within the hyper-arid climate of the Quaternary in the Southern Negev. Such conditions create today a state of dynamic equilibriumDynamic equilibrium where the amount of sediment supplied to the channel is also the amount transported out of the catchment. Evidence of this equilibrium is the fluvio-pedogenic layer (FPUFluvio-pedogenic units) within the alluvial channel. The outcome is a watershed with unique landscape that has become a perfect field laboratory for studying and understanding the processes operating today in desert environments. As well, it enables to reveal wetter episodes within the general arid climate, with non-typical landforms in desert environments.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWorld Geomorphological Landscapes
PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media B.V.
Number of pages15
StatePublished - 2024
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameWorld Geomorphological Landscapes
VolumePart F2449
ISSN (Print)2213-2090
ISSN (Electronic)2213-2104

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2024.


  • Desert geomorphology
  • Dynamic equilibrium
  • Flash flood
  • Fluvio-pedogenic units
  • Sediment transport


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