Associate Professor (Adjunct)
Interests: Geology, Limnogeology of the Dead Sea, from evaporation to evaporites, air-water interactions, fluvial and coastal geomorphology
My research focuses on basic questions regarding the controlling processes of large scale Earth environments, and the relations between climatic/environmental conditions and the formation of geological records in un-balanced systems. I try to stick to the useful approach - “the present as a key to the past”. The Dead Sea, a deep hypersaline lake subjected to negative water balance that precipitates salt layers, is a unique aquatic system on Earth today, which provides a rare opportunity to explore the formation of “salt giants”, i.e. ~kilometer thick salt layers in wide sedimentary basins that were common aquatic environments in the past. In addition, the Dead Sea vicinity is a multi-setting natural laboratory for rare exploration of geomorphic responses to base level fall. With my students, we tend to start our explorations with direct observations, using buoys in the Dead Sea measuring air-water exchange (eddy-covariance towers), the properties within the water column, the formation of salt deposits and their variation in time and space, and we perform seasonal surveys of the lake floor using Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV). The observations are then arranged in theoretical schemes including conservation and transport equations to allow generalization of our findings.
Ongoing and future projects:
“From evaporation to evaporites” – the relation of environmental/climatic forcing, through the thermos-haline stratification of the water column and transport processes between the strata, to the formation of salt layers, including temporal variations (diurnal and seasonal cycles, and synoptic events) and spatial variations along climatic gradients and depth variations within the lake.
Stratigraphy and sedimentology of salt and detritic layers during lake regression – high resolution observations relating hydroclimatic conditions to rock textures and composition.
Surface processes in response to lake level lowering – stream incision and the transport of sediments by fluvial and coastal conveyers.
We now expand our activity to the next water bodies along the Dead Sea rift (Hula, Kinneret, Dead Sea and Gulf of Eilat), where we explore the gas, heat and momentum exchange across the water surfaces, and their impact on the water body and the deposits. These water bodies are arranged within a tectonic rift, and along an extreme climatic gradient, with various aquatic biology.
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