Geochemical Analysis of Ancient Salt Deposits from the Dead Sea and its Climate and Hydrology During Warmer Periods in the Past 200,000 Years

Lead PI: Steven L. Goldstein , Dr. Yochanan Kushnir , , Yael Kiro Feldman

Unit Affiliation: Geochemistry, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (LDEO)

Unit Affiliation: Ocean and Climate Physics, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (LDEO)

September 2016 - August 2018
Asia ; Dead Sea
Project Type: Research

DESCRIPTION: The climate and hydrology in the Middle East for the last 200,000 years can be deduced from chemical analyses of 460-meters of drill core obtained from beneath the Dead Sea by the International Continental Scientific Drilling Project (ICDP). Thick layers of salt deposited between 115,000 and 130,000 years ago imply drought conditions. The climate and hydrology in the Middle East during this time period can be compared with results from other regions to understand how they are connected globally. Using evidence from the past can test our theories and broaden our understanding of how the climate will respond in the future. This project will strengthen present and future international scientific collaboration through participation of students from Jordan and Israel. Drill core recovered by the Dead Sea Drilling Project contained thick layers of salt that document drought conditions in the Middle East between 115,000 and 130,000 years ago. The project will reconstruct the climate and hydrology during warmer periods in the past 200,000 years by analyzing the chemistry of fluid bubbles trapped in the salt. Geochemical measurements will be interpreted for rainfall, temperature, relative humidity, and winds. The results will be compared with predictions from climate models for this period in earth history