Sedimentary, geochemical and hydrological history of Lake Kinneret during the past 28,000 years

Lilach Lev, Mordechai Stein, Emi Ito, Noa Fruchter, Zvi Ben-Avraham, Ahuva Almogi-Labin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


The sedimentary, geochemical and hydrological history of Lake Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) is reconstructed for the past ∼28 kyrs, based on three sedimentary cores drilled at the lake and a trench dug at the shore of the prehistorical Ohalo–II site. During the past 28 kyrs either laminated or massive fine-grained sediments were deposited in the lake comprising primary calcites and fine-grain detritus. Sr/Ca, Mg/Ca, 87 Sr/ 86 Sr ratios and δ 18 O values of live and fossil ostracod shells (Cyprideis torosa) and primary calcites together with XRD, grain-size, and carbonate content analyses indicate contribution of the following types of waters to the lake: (1) Jordan River; (2) Regional runoff; and (3) Ca-chloride brines (currently comprises the Tiberias Spa brine). During the last glacial period (∼28-24 ka) the lake rose to its highest stand of ∼170 m below sea level (bsl), expanding over the Kinnarot Basin and converging with the southern hypersaline Lake Lisan. At that time, waters were mainly supplied to the lake by the Jordan River and regional runoff with enhanced contribution of the Dead Sea Ca-chloride brine. Primary calcites were precipitated from the lake's solution forming sequences of laminated sediments on the lake's floor. At ∼24-22 ka (coinciding with Heinrich event H2 at the North Atlantic) the lake retreated below the modern level (of ∼214 m bsl), depositing mainly flood-related sediments at its margins. The lake slightly rose during the Younger Dryas and subsequently declined towards the modern level with decreasing contributions of the Jordan River waters, brines and regional runoff, reflecting a continuous aridification of the region during the Holocene.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)114-128
Number of pages15
JournalQuaternary Science Reviews
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2019


FundersFunder number
USA–Israel Bin ational Science Foundation BSF2010347
National Science Foundation
Brain Science Foundation
Israel Science Foundation1663/16


    • East Mediterranean
    • Geochemistry
    • Lake Kinneret
    • Late Quaternary
    • Levant
    • Ostracods
    • Paleo-limnology
    • Sr and O isotopes


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