EGU2020-862, updated on 12 Jun 2020
EGU General Assembly 2020
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Environmental Significance of Holocene Dust Accumulation in Archaeological Hilltop Ruins in the Southern Levant

Joel Roskin2, Bernhard Lucke1, Kim André Vanselow1, Hendrik J. Bruins3, Nizar Abu-Jaber4, Naomi Porat5, and Rupert Bäumler1
Joel Roskin et al.
  • 1FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg, Institute of Geography, Erlangen, Germany (
  • 2University of Haifa, Geomorphology and Portable Luminescence Laboratory, Leon Recanati Institute for Maritime Studies, Haifa 31905, Israel
  • 3Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research & Department of Geography and Environmental Development, Beer-Sheva 8410501, Israel
  • 4German Jordanian University, School of Natural Resources Engineering and Management,Madaba, Amman 11180, Jordan
  • 5Geological Survey of Israel, Jerusalem 9692100, Israel

Pleistocene primary and secondary loess remains cover large parts of the landscape in the Negev in Israel and have been postulated in southern Jordan, but Holocene deposits are absent. We hypothesized that archaeological structures might represent effective dust traps which preserve Holocene dust, and investigated soils developed on archaeological hilltop ruins. These were compared them with local soils, paleosols, geological outcrops, and current dust. Statistically modeled grain size end-members were identified and demonstrate that the ruin soils in both regions consist of mixtures of local and remote sediment sources that differ from dust compositions deposited during current storms. This discrepancy is attributed to fixation processes connected with sediment-fixing agents such as vegetation, biocrusts, and/or clast pavements associated with vesicular layers (similar to desert pavements). It suggests that dust deposition depends not only on supply, but that sedimentation processes play a major role. Precipitation may have contributed to dust accretion, as a snowstorm in the Petra region delivered a significantly higher amount of sediment than rain or dry deposition. Snowfall dust had a unique particle size distribution relatively similar to the ruin soils. Wet deposition and snow might catalyze dust deposition and enhance fixation by fostering vegetation and crust formation, which suggests that more frequent snowfall during the Pleistocene may have been an important mechanism of primary loess deposition in the southern Levant.

How to cite: Roskin, J., Lucke, B., Vanselow, K. A., Bruins, H. J., Abu-Jaber, N., Porat, N., and Bäumler, R.: Environmental Significance of Holocene Dust Accumulation in Archaeological Hilltop Ruins in the Southern Levant, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-862,, 2019

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