Late holocene embayment infill and shoreline migration, haifa bay, eastern mediterranean

Naomi Porat, Dorit Sivan, Dov Zviely

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36 Scopus citations


In the early Holocene sea-level rise caused transgression into the Haifa Bay, as in many bays and river mouths in the Eastern Mediterranean basin. Approximately 4,000 yr ago the sea reached its maximum transgression in the Zevulun Valley Plain, the eastern and terrestrial part of Haifa Bay, and the area was subjected to shallow marine and coastal sedimentation. Later, the coastline migrated to the west and the shallow marine sands were covered by coastal dunes. Across the Zevulun Valley Plain the top of these marine sands is within ± 1 m of present-day sea level. To provide a temporal framework for the establishment of the current sea level and the deposition of the aeolian and marine sands, a borehole was drilled 1,700 m inland, at 7.75 m asl, and eight samples were dated by optically stimulated luminescence (OSL). Sandy sediments comprise the entire borehole length (14.5 m). The transition from coarser shallow marine and coastal sand with mollusk fragments to the overlying finer coastal dunes is at a borehole depth of 7.5 to 8 m (0 ± 0.25 m asl). Quartz single-aliquot OSL ages range from 2,400 ± 110 yr at 3.0 m borehole depth to 4,150 ± 170 yr at 11.2 m depth. The transition from coastal to aeolian deposits took place about 3,650 yr ago, implying that within 0.5-1 m, sea level was then similar to the modern level. The chronology of the two sandy phases of the Zevulun Valley Plain has enabled the tracking of the shifting coastlines since 4,000 yr. The ages also have a bearing on our understanding of human occupation in these coastal areas and provide a reliable index point for the local sea-level curve.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-31
Number of pages11
JournalIsrael Journal of Earth Sciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes


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