Northward propagation of the Gulf of Elat-Aqaba constrained by cosmogenic burial ages and magnetostratigraphy of onshore sediments

Shaked Engelberg*, Amir Sagy, Ron Shaar, Ari Matmon, Alan J. Hidy, Hanan Ginat, Shmuel Marco

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Gulf of Elat-Aqaba (GEA), located in the southern part of the Dead Sea Transform (DST), is one of the most active segments of the Dead Sea fault system. Yet, some fundamental details concerning its evolution in space and time are still not fully understood. To better constrain the tectonic history of this region, we study a succession of alluvial, lacustrine, and fluvial deposits in the north-western edge of the GEA, which belong to the Quaternary Eilot and Garof Fms. The Eilot Fm. represents low-energy shallow freshwater bodies and sabkhas, which predate the development of the deep part of the basin. Later, in response to the subsidence of the basin, the Garof Fm. was deposited in alluvial fans that built up following the increase in the depositional energy. Cosmogenic burial ages combined with magnetostratigraphy show that these Fms. were deposited as early as 3.03 Ma and as late as 1.65 Ma, depending on the applied age model. Considering the present depth of the northern GEA, this age indicates a maximum subsidence rate of the head of the GEA of ∼1.98mm/yr. We suggest that faults along the onshore margin of the deep basin were active during the deposition of the Garof Fm. and subsequently became inactive, while the faulting activity migrated toward the center of the basin. Closed Holocene basins north of the present seashore, such as the Elat and Evrona playas, which may represent a modern analogue to the Plio-Pleistocene morphology, raise the possibility that the GEA head is still propagating northward.

Original languageEnglish
Article number230178
StatePublished - 24 Jan 2024


FundersFunder number
Inter-ministerial Earthquake Preparedness Steering Committee
Geological Survey and Mineral Exploration of Iran


    • Cosmogenic isotopes dating
    • Dead Sea Transform
    • Gulf of Elat-Aqaba
    • Magnetostratigraphy
    • Pull apart basin


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