The structure of the Golan Heights and its tectonic linkage to the Dead Sea Transform and the Palmyrides folding

Haim Shulman, Moshe Reshef*, Zvi Ben-Avraham

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Golan Heights is situated between the northern Dead Sea Transform (DST) and the southwestern Palmyrides fold belt. Four hundred kilometers of seismic profiles were acquired over this basalt-covered, elevated plateau. Their interpretation delineates its main subsurface structural elements. Identification of the various seismic markers was made by correlation with calibrated seismic data some 150 km SW of the study area and across the DST. The sedimentary section of the Golan Heights is more than 7000 m in a basin that can be divided, structurally, into three main zones: (1) The central zone is occupied by a major NE-SW-trending transtensional zone-Yehudiyya-that was formed by the activity of the NE branching of the Sheikh-Ali and Meshoshim faults from the DST. The highly faulted Yehudiyya extension zone existed at the time of the basalt eruptions and controlled their flow direction. (2) A series of NE-SW thrust faults prevails over the Northern zone. They align with the Palmyrides thrust-cored folding and are considered to be their direct SW continuation. (3) The synclinal nature of the southern zone is occasionally deformed in various structural styles that are attributed to the strike-slip motion of the DST and the Sheikh-Ali fault and include low relief folds, thrust-cored anticlines, and wrench faults. The main factor controlling the structural framework of the Golan Heights is the activity of the DST and its interaction with the Palmyrides folding.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)225-237
Number of pages13
JournalIsrael Journal of Earth Sciences
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - 2004


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