Salt layer characteristics in the Ghor Al-Haditha area, Jordan: comprehensive combined reprocessing of geophysical data

Michael Ezersky*, Lev Eppelbaum, Anatoly Legchenko, A. Al-Zoubi, A. R.A. Abueladas

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The presence of buried salt layer in the Ghor Al-Haditha area is discussed concerning sinkhole hazard. Numerous geophysical methods such as seismic refraction (SRFR), reflection (SRFL), seismic tomography, multichannel analysis of surface waves (MASW) were developed earlier for the salt layer identification. Geophysical criteria of salt parameters (such as longitudinal Vp and shear Vs wave velocities) were established to identify salt layers. This paper presents new geophysical results proving the salt extension in the Dead Sea (DS) coastal area in its eastern shore potentially representing a sinkhole hazard. The reprocessing technique of MASW data using the synthetic modeling enabled us to detect salt layer characteristics such as depth to its top, the thickness of the layer, and its Vs velocity. It was established that a salt layer with 7–10 m thick is located at a depth of 37–41 m and is characterized by shear-wave velocity (Vs) of 850–1200 m/s. Similar results were obtained by the Transient Electromagnetic (TEM) resistivity method, which detected a comparatively resistive salt layer at a background of very low resistivity. The resolution of the TEM method allows detecting a salt layer of 3 m thick and more at a depth of 39–40 m. Seismic refraction data processing has shown the presence of a salt layer with a velocity of more than 2900 m/s at approximately or the same depths. Analysis of seismic tomography data also confirms the parameters of the discovered target. Analysis of results of geophysical studies in the western and eastern DS shores, comparison of geological conditions in shores, and sinkhole development, enabled us to conclude with a high probability that salt layers exist in both shores and sinkhole development is determined here by similar mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish
Article number124
JournalEnvironmental Earth Sciences
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 2021


FundersFunder number
NATO's Science for Peace Program981128
United States Agency for International DevelopmentM27-050
Al-Balqa' Applied University


    • Geophysics
    • MASW
    • Salt
    • Sinkholes
    • TEM


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