The Yarmouk River gorge extends along the Israel-Jordan-Syria border junction. It marks the southern bound of the Irbid-Azraq rift and Harrat Ash Shaam volcanic field at their intersection with the younger Dead Sea Transform plate boundary. During the last ∼13 Ma, the gorge has repeatedly accumulated basaltic units, chronologically named the Lower, Cover, Yarmouk and Raqqad Basalt formations. We examined their origin and distribution through aerial photos, and geological and geophysical evidence. Our results define a southern Golan magmatic province, which includes exposed Miocene (∼13 Ma) basalts, gabbro-diabase intrusions below the gorge and the adjacent Dead Sea Transform valley, and numerous Pliocene-Pleistocene volcanic sources along the gorge. Cover Basalt (∼5.0-4.3 Ma) eruptions formed two adjacent 0-100 m thick plateaus on the transform shoulder before flowing downslope to fill the topographically lower Dead Sea Transform valley with ∼700 m thick basalts. Later incision of the Yarmouk River and displacement along its associated fault divided the plateaus and formed the gorge. The younger Yarmouk (0.8-0.6 Ma) and Raqqad (0.2-0.1 Ma) basalts erupted in the upper part of the gorge from volcanos reported here, and flowed downstream toward the Dead Sea Transform valley. Consequently, eruptions from six phreatic volcanic vents altered the Yarmouk River morphology from sinuous to meandering. Our results associate the ∼13 Ma long southern Golan volcanism with the proposed SW-trending extensional Yarmouk Fault, located east of the Dead Sea Transform. Hence, the Yarmouk volcanism is associated with the ongoing Harrat Ash Shaam activity, which is not directly linked to the displacement along the Dead Sea Transform.
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- Dead Sea Transform
- Harrat Ash Shaam
- Keywords: intraplate volcanism
- Yarmouk River
- alkali basalt
- continental transform
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