YBD sampling GFZ

Dr. Yoav Ben Dor

Postdoctoral fellow, advised by Yigal Erel and Mordechai Stein
Room 17


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Research interests: Paleoclimate, hydrology, limnology, sedimentary petrography, sedimentology, pedology, quaternary research, geochronology

Reasearch Topic: Saharan dust & the Neolithic Agriculture Revolution in the Jordan Valley



My current study focuses on the environmental and soil-related conditions in the Levant that could have provided prehistoric humans with the advantages required to initiate the Neolithic Agriculture Revolution (NAR) following the end of the last glacial period (~15th to 11th millennium BP). We investigate the properties and origins of soils and sedimentary sequences that accumulated prior, during and after the NAR with close context to renowned archaeological sites including Gilgal, Netiv Hagdud and Fazael, and analyze them within the broad climatological and hydrological framework. Through this inter-disciplinary study of the soils that served the earliest farmers of the Levant, we wish to see whether local conditions that followed the last glacial period provided an unplanned natural advantage to the people that inhabited the Jordan Valley. This research relies on establishing the chronology of the studied sections using OSL and 14C dating techniques, and further sedimentary and soil-related analyses, which include detailed field description and mapping, soil texture and grain-size measurements, and other fertility-related properties such as exchangeable cations composition, sodium and potassium adsorption, available sulfur and phosphorus, as well as chemical and multiple isotopic analyses.

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Yoni Goldsmith

Yonatan Goldsmith

Senior Lecturer
Room 14 South

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Research Interests 

Understanding how global warming will effect water availability is one of the crucial questions of our time.

My research is aimed at quantifying past changes in rainfall and evaporation in different places around the world (China, Mongolia, western US, Middle East) in order to understand the natural variability of rainfall and evaporation and the processes that govern this variability.

I combine geomorphology with isotope geochemistry (compound specific stable isotopes (dD, d13C), traditional stable isotopes (dD, 18O, d13C), clumped isotopes and U/Th dating) to investigate how the status of lakes has changed through time. I use hydrological models and outputs of climate models to quantify and evaluate the empirical data I collect.

I’m also interested in how human societies respond to climate change throughout history and in the present.

Ongoing projects:

  • Quantifying the migration of the East Asian Monsoon during the Late Quaternary in China and Mongolia
  • Reconstructing paleo-intensity of the Indian Monsoon using lake-area fluctuations from Lake Chenghai, Southern China
  • Developing and applying compound specific stable isotope biogeochemistry to problems in terrestrial hydroclimate, East Asia, West Asia, Western USA
  • Chemical and isotopic processes of shoreline tufa formation in Mono Lake, USA.

Curriculum Vitae

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Yoni Israeli

Yoni Israeli

Ph.D student, supervised by Simon Emmanuel
Room 129 North

Impact of mineral dissolution and precipitation on the wetting behavior of non-aqueous phase liquids in groundwater systems.

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During the past few years the focus of my research has been to develop state-of-the-art microscopy and numerical techniques to study the interaction between minerals and fluids at a macro and nanometer scale. My main study is aimed at exploring a fundamental scientific problem of exploring how mineral alterations influence wetting behavior. My research is aimed to determine the way mineral precipitation, dissolution and replacement impact the wetting behavior of non-aqueous phase liquids (NAPLs) in rocks and soils at the micrometer and nanometer scales. We expect that alteration of wettability at the pore scale will affect field scale phenomena, such as pollutant mobility. Since wetting behavior controls the adhesion of liquid contaminants to minerals, my study is expected to have important practical implications to the quality of groundwater and to the environment.
I am also studying the way in which minerals undergo weathering from the macro to the nanoscale. I developed a numerical model to assess the effect of grain size and rock composition on chemical weathering and grain detachment. The model simulates the weathering of a rock comprising grains with various sizes composed of two different minerals with different reactivities. Our simulations showed that grain detachment represents more than a third of the overall weathering rate. We also found that as grain size increases, the weathering rate initially decreases; however, beyond a critical size, the rate became approximately constant. Our results could help predict the sometimes-complex relationship between rock type and weathering rate (for more details: https://www.earth-surf-dynam.net/6/319/2018/esurf-6-319-2018.html).

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Efrat Morin

Efrat Morin

Room 308 South

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Research Interests:

I am interested in understanding, modeling and predicting dominant processes and interactions of hydrological and meteorological systems at different space-time scales. I am in particular interested in space-time patterns of precipitation fields and how these are related to meteorological controls on one hand and to hydrological impacts on the other. Precipitation data from remote sensing systems (radar and satellite) are often used in my research, where their uncertainty is also considered. With my group we investigate extreme precipitation and floods at a range of scales. We develop and utilize process-based and data-driven models in deterministic and stochastic frameworks. We examine climate variability and climate change in present, past and future conditions and their effects on different environmental systems that are of interest in hydrological, geomorphologic, agricultural and ecological fields of research.


Curriculum Vitae


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Dr. davide_zoccatelli

Davide Zoccatelli

Postdoctoral researcher
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hydrological modelling, with a focus on mountain catchments and arid areas; flood data collection and modelling, using high resolution precipitation estimation from radar; connection between river flow, rainfall patterns, geomorphological effects; integration of hydrological models with data from glacier monitoring and hydrograph separation from tracers; effects of climate change on the hydrological cycle.
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