The origin and disappearance of the late Pleistocene-early Holocene short-lived coastal wetlands along the Carmel coast, Israel

Dorit Sivan, Noam Greenbaum, Ronit Cohen-Seffer, Guy Sisma-Ventura, Ahuva Almogi-Labin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The formation of short-lived backswamps along the Carmel coast of Israel coincides with the rapid global sea-level rise during the late Pleistocene-early Holocene transition. The current study shows that the wetland phenomena originated around 10,000yr ago and dried up shortly before the local Pre-Pottery Neolithic humans settled on the wetland dark clay sediments 9430calyr BP. Palaeontological and stable-isotope data were used in this study to elucidate previously published sedimentological reconstruction obtained from a core drilled into the western trough of the Carmel coastal plain. The water body contained typical brackish calcareous fauna, with variable numerical abundance and low species richness of ostracods and foraminifera. The δ18O and δ13C of the ostracod Cyprideis torosa show close similarity to the present Pleistocene coastal aquifer isotopic values. This study therefore concludes that the wetlands were shallow-water bodies fed by groundwater, with no evidence of sea-water mixing. It seems that they developed as the result of high groundwater levels, transportation of sediments landward, and deposition of sand bars at the paleo-river mouths. It is still not fully understood why these wetlands deteriorated abruptly and disappeared within less than 1000yr.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-92
Number of pages10
JournalQuaternary Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2011

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to thank Dr. A. Rosenfeld, of the Geological Survey of Israel and H. K. Mienis, of the National Mollusks Collection in Tel Aviv University for their contribution to R. Cohen-Seffer's PhD research. Cohen-Seffer's study was partly funded by grant from the Sir Maurice and Lady Hatter Fund of the Leon Recanati Institute for Maritime Studies (RIMS), University of Haifa. Many thanks are also due to N. Yoselevich for the figures and to J. Tresman for the editorial review.


  • Coastal wetlands
  • Israel
  • Late Pleistocene-early Holocene transition
  • Sea-level rise

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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