10th International Conference on Geomorphology
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

A new UNESCO Global Geopark at the southern Dead Sea, Jordan – first concepts and hazard monitoring

Djamil Al-Halbouni, Osama AlRabayah, and Lars Rüpke
Djamil Al-Halbouni et al.
  • GEOMAR - Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research, Dynamics of the Ocean Floor, Kiel, Germany (dhalbouni@geomar.de)

The Dead Sea area and its surroundings have suffered strong changes in the last decades, accompanied by a variety of natural hazards related to enhanced erosional processes, such as sinkholes, subsidence and flash floods. In this work we discuss the concepts and challenges of the establishment of a new UNESCO Global Geopark (UGGp) at the southeastern Dead Sea. The Geopark will thematically encompass the influence that the natural changes and related hazards have had on the local population, from geological, over historical up to recent times. The hydrogeology and geomorphology, i.e. the connection between erosion by water, dissolution of minerals and landscape evolution will be the main guiding theme that connects the Eastern Rim Highlands of Jordan with the Dead Sea rift valley through ephemeral wadis, vegetated springs areas and traditionally living communities. The creation of the UGGp is aimed at a holistic, sustainable development and management of the area by eco-tourism, and includes education on water resource management, hazard awareness and resilience, conservation as well as international geo- and bioscience research, especially on monitoring of Geohazards. The proposed territory contains a variety of geologic features from Cambrian (Umm Ishrin Sandstone), over Cretaceous (Kurnub, Ajlun and Belqa groups) up to the Quaternary deposits in alluvial fans, volcanic rocks (Neogene basalt), parts of the Lisan salt diapir and the recently exposed shoreline of the Dead Sea. Tectonically, the territory lies on the Arabian Peninsula, and is limited to the west by an active rift zone, the Dead Sea transform fault. The highlight and focus area of the Geopark lies near the SE shore of the DS, near Ghor Al-Haditha. It encompasses the active subsurface erosion zone, with a large variety of recent sinkholes and subsidence formations as well as a potpourri of mostly clayey-silt sediments consisting of a variety of precipitated evaporite minerals such as aragonite, gypsum, halite and detritic particles such as limestone, quartz and clay found all along the DS shore. Finally, a creation of such a space would be the forth in the Middle East, so an international reputation and visibility is guaranteed.

How to cite: Al-Halbouni, D., AlRabayah, O., and Rüpke, L.: A new UNESCO Global Geopark at the southern Dead Sea, Jordan – first concepts and hazard monitoring, 10th International Conference on Geomorphology, Coimbra, Portugal, 12–16 Sep 2022, ICG2022-293, https://doi.org/10.5194/icg2022-293, 2022.