Gravitational deformations and fillings of aging caves: The example of Qesem karst system, Israel

Amos Frumkin, Panagiotis Karkanas, Miryam Bar-Matthews, Ran Barkai, Avi Gopher, Ruth Shahack-Gross, Anton Vaks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Qesem karst system may serve as an example for aging chamber caves. It includes two caves which have undergone several stages of natural and human-induced deposition, as well as subsidence and collapse. Natural deposits include calcite speleothems, bedrock collapse debris, and clay fill. Karst dissolution and associated sagging and decomposition have operated since the initial cave formation. Inclined sediments are attributed to several processes, mostly dominated by gravitational sagging into underlying dissolution voids, affecting cave deposits and sometimes the host-rock. U-Th dating shows that speleothem deposition has been common during the mid-late Quaternary, but deposition sites shifted according to local conditions. The aging of caves occurs when they become totally filled by sediments and ultimately consumed by surface denudation, as documented in Qesem Cave.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)154-164
Number of pages11
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 1 May 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Cave archaeology
  • Cave fill
  • Chamber cave
  • Karst subsidence
  • Speleothem
  • U-Th dating

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth-Surface Processes


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