Last interglacial sea level high-stand deduced from well-preserved abrasive notches exposed on the Galilee coast of northern Israel

Guy Sisma-Ventura, Dorit Sivan, Gilad Shtienberg, Or M. Bialik, Sagi Filin, Noam Greenbaum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This study investigates the morphometry and structure of abrasive notches exposed along the tectonically-stable, micro-tidal Galilee coast, Israel, south-eastern Mediterranean, since they can serve as past sea-level indicators. The characteristics of the notches, height (H), vertex (D) – distance of maximum retreat point from cliff face, height of retreat point from the floor and roof (HF and HR, respectively), etc., were surveyed using LIDAR and a digital laser rangefinder, and elevations were measured using DGPS. Rock resistance was measured by Schmidt hammer tests, which show that the most developed and best preserved notches were formed within the more resistant host rocks of the Cenomanian chalk and the Pleistocene aeolianite sandstone. The elevations of the abrasive floors of the exposed notches indicated a sea level slightly higher than at present at the beginning of MIS5e, with an upper limit between + 0.5 and + 0.75 m. The morphometry of the MIS5e notches, which are larger than modern notches in the study area, suggests mechanical erosion by broken waves, where an energetic wave-dominant sea batters a sheltered coastal cliff. Two sub-units of MIS5e (the Yasaf Mb.) were deposited within the notches: (a) a conglomerate containing the diagnostic fossil Strombus bubonius which was found on the notch floor, and (b) a younger bioclastic sandstone sub-unit which fills and covers parts of the notches. These unique field relationships link the formation of the notches to the beginning of MIS5e, indicating an erosive phase which parallels large-scale MIS5e sea level evidence, suggesting relatively long stand-stills at an elevation of about + 1 m. The early MIS5e erosive phase was followed by a depositional phase during the later stage of MIS5e.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalPalaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology
Volume470
DOIs
StatePublished - 15 Mar 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Dr. Sisma-Ventura acknowledges postdoctoral funding by the Israel Science Foundation (ISF Grant no. 932/11) and the University of Haifa. Thanks are also due to Noga Yoselevich of the Cartography Laboratory of the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, University of Haifa, for the graphics, and to John Tresman for the English editing.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017

Keywords

  • Abrasive notches
  • Galilee coast
  • High-stand
  • Israel
  • MIS5e
  • Sea-level

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Paleontology

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