Heat flow in the Dead Sea from the ICDP boreholes and its implication for the structure of the basin

B. Oryan, H. Villinger, M. Lazar, M. J. Schwab, I. Neugebauer, Z. Ben-Avraham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Numerical simulations emulating the formation of the Dead Sea Basin (DSB) infer that it could not have been formed as a pull-apart basin with a surface heat flow lower than 50[Formula presented]. However, previous measurements determined values of 32−40[Formula presented]. This contradiction is known as the “Dead Sea heat flow paradox”. Here we set to re-examine the “paradox” by analyzing heat flow data in boreholes drilled by the ICDP (International Continental Drilling Program) in the northern DSB. The boreholes and the extracted sediment cores offer a unique opportunity to re-measure the heat flow in the DSB and assess the “paradox”. Heat flow was determined by obtaining in situ temperature profiles from the boreholes and conducting 469 thermal conductivity measurements on the cores. The newly computed values are in agreement with those previously obtained for the DSB and fall below the threshold of 50[Formula presented]. Different explanations proposed to justify higher heat flow seem to fail leaving the “Dead Sea heat flow paradox” unresolved. Heat flow values and the sedimentation corrections determined in this research are consistent with the Ginzburg and Ben-Avraham subsurface model for the DSB, suggesting deeper sediment filling in the southern part of the basin.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-112
Number of pages10
JournalQuaternary Science Reviews
StatePublished - 15 Apr 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Elsevier Ltd


  • Dead sea basin
  • Dead sea deep drilling project
  • Heat flow
  • International continental drilling program (ICDP)
  • Salt diapirs
  • Sedimentation correction
  • Thermal conductivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology
  • Geology


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