The characterisation of Saharan dusts and Nile particulate matter in surface sediments from the Levantine basin using Sr isotopes

M. D. Krom, R. A. Cliff, L. M. Eijsink, B. Herut, R. Chester

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The provenance of sediments within the Levantine basin of the eastern Mediterranean was studied using 87Sr/86Sr isotopic ratios, together with major elements. Measurements were made on the detrital fraction of surface sediments, and the two most important sources of detrital matter to the region. Saharan dust was characterised by an 87Sr/86Sr isotopic ratio in the range 0.7160-0.7192. There was a small systematic decrease in 87Sr/86Sr from west to east which is interpreted as due to a change in the balance of aeolian source material. The Nile particulate matter had a 87Sr/86Sr isotopic ratio in the range 0.7057-0.7071. 87Sr/86Sr isotopic signatures together with Sr concentration were used to calculate the contributions made by Saharan dust and Nile particulate matter to the surface sediments of the Levantine basin. It was shown that Nile-derived sediment was dispersed widely across the Levantine basin enabling the area affected by retention of sediment behind the Aswan dam to be determined.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)319-330
Number of pages12
JournalMarine Geology
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - 1 Mar 1999
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The work of this project was funded in part by UK NERC Grant No. GR3/100/6. L. Eijsink was in receipt of a Human Mobilities Grant (MAS2-CT93-5013). Samples were collected during cruises of the R/V Meteor, R/V Marion Dufresne (MAST-II PALEOFLUX) and R/V Shikmona. Samples of Nile delta sediment were provided by Professor D.J. Stanley (Smithsonian Institute, Washington DC) and by Dr. M. Macklin (Leeds Univ.). Samples of Levantine basin sediment from Atlit were provided by N. Kress (IOLR, Haifa). We would like to thank Dr D. Banks and D. Lanforth for carrying out the major element analyses of the dust and Nile PM samples and R. Green for carrying out the Sr isotopic analyses.


  • Levantine basin
  • Mediterranean sediments
  • Nile particulate matter
  • Saharan dust
  • Strontium isotopes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Geology
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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