Late Holocene relative sea-level changes in Lebanon, Eastern Mediterranean

Christophe Morhange, Paolo A. Pirazzoli, Nick Marriner, Lucien F. Montaggioni, Tanios Nammour

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Twenty-nine 14C dates of precise biological sea-level indicators from the Lebanese coast show evidence for two significant regional crustal uplift episodes during the past 6000 years. We elucidate: (1) an upper shoreline at ca. + 120 to + 140 cm, which lasted from ca. 6000 to 3000 BP; and (2) a lower shoreline at + 80 ± 40 cm, developed between the fifth century BC and the sixth century AD. These movements are associated with: (1) two major seismic crises along the Yammuneh fault and the Roum-Tripoli Thrust (RTT); and (2) subsequent seismic events on a series of second-order ENE trending dextral transpressive faults. Vertical movements affected north Lebanon, whilst the coasts of south Lebanon generally underwent crustal downlift. This is in contrast with relative stability in northern Israel, suggesting an area of stationary tectonic conditions west of the Dead Sea-Rosh Hanikra/Ras Nakoura fault. The main 14C age cluster, corresponding to the second uplift event, may have resulted from fault movements during the "Early Byzantine Tectonic Paroxysm" (EBTP), between ca. 1750 and 2000 BP. Relative sea level stabilised to present level around 1000 BP.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-114
Number of pages16
JournalMarine Geology
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 2 Aug 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Holocene
  • Lebanon
  • Mediterranean
  • bioconstruction
  • geomorphology
  • relative sea level
  • tectonics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Geology
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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