Einat  Aharonov

Einat Aharonov

Room 311 South
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Research Interests
In my group, we study coupled physical and chemical processes that control deformation and evolution of rocks. Most of our research focuses on how relatively small-scale processes (on the pore, grain, or asperity scale) control large-scale geological phenomena such as soil liquefaction, the dynamics of landslides and earthquakes, the process of rock compaction/dissolution, or the physics of friction. My group also studies larger scale coupled deformation, such as coupled brittle - ductile deformation, the creation of pockmarks on the ocean floor, salt tectonics and the physics of subduction initiation. I work on the boundary between physics and geology, using mainly theoretical and numerical tools. However, our work is always constrained by observations: to understand the physics of a system of interest, I collaborate also with field geologists and experimentalists who provide an empirical foundation to the theoretical work.
In addition, recently I became interested in Energy issues, especially in oil & gas formation and extraction, and their environmental and climatic impact. I formed and headed the Petroleum Geology MSc direction at the Hebrew University.  
Ongoing projects:
  • The physics of friction – can we predict friction, and dependence on velocity, temperature and pressure, from basic thermodynamic parameters?
  • Understanding how salt tectonics causes faulting of overlying sediments.
  • The physics of soil liquefaction during earthquakes.
  • Earthquake triggering by fluids. 
  • Reactive flow in rocks and formation of hyopgenic karsts.
Past PhD Students and postdocs:
  • Dr Zvi Kul Karcz. VP for Exploration and Chief Geologist at Delek Drilling Company.
  • Prof Liran Goren, Associate Prof at the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Ben-Gurion University, Israel.  
  • Dr Stanislav Parez, Researcher at the Inst of Chemical Process Fundamentals, The Czech Academy of Sciences.
  • Dr Regina Katsman, Scientist at the Dept of Marine Geosciences, Univ of Haifa.
  • Dr Shalev Siman-Tov, Researcher at the Geological Hazards Division, Geological survey of Israel
  • Dr. Nataliia Makedonska, Scientist at Computational Earth Science Group, Los Alamos National labs, USA.
  • Dr Anner Paldor, postdoc at the Univ. of Delaware, Dept. of Earth Sciences.
  • Dr Leehee Laronne Ben-Itzhak
Past MSc students: Inbar Vaknin, Einav Reuven, Hanna Rubin, Itzhak Hamdani, Maor Kaduri. Boriana Kalderon‐Asael, Yonatan Elfassi.
Present postdocs: Dr Maor Kaduri.
Present PhD students: Shahar Ben Zeev, Roi Roded, Pritom Sarma, Jimmy Moneron (main advisor Prof Z Gvirtzman).
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Dov Avigad

Dov Avigad

Room 204 North

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Together with my students, postdoctoral scholars, and affiliated researchers, I combine field and laboratory studies to understand the origin of Earth's continental crust, its composition and architecture. Within this broad research avenue I concentrate on aspects of continental tectonics with emphasis on Precambrian crustal evolution, old and young orogenic belts, continental extensional tectonics, and the link between orogeny, erosion and sedimentation. We seek to unravel plate tectonics processes around the Eastern Mediterranean with special emphasis on the Cadomian and Avalonian continental collage of SE Europe and Asia Minor, Precambrian crustal evolution of the Arabian-Nubian Shield in Eilat and Ethiopia, the provenance of the great Paleozoic sand sea of northern Africa and Arabia, and its linkage to Pan-African orogens and to coeval silisiclastic sediments in Europe.

Our research is funded by the Israel Science Foundation, the Israel Ministry of Infrastructure, the German-Israel Binational Science Foundation and the USA-Israel Binational Science Foundation. We currently collaborate with scientists from Israel, USA, Australia, Germany, Turkey, France and Ethiopia


Curriculum Vitae


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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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Michal Ben-Israel

Michal Ben-Israel

Postdoctoral researcher

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I am a postdoc working with Dr. Uri Ryb on understanding dolomitization processes using different geochemical methods.

I am generally interested in surface processes and finding new ways to understand how different natural forcings shape the surface of our planet.



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Yigal Erel

Kozenitsky-Rosenbach Professor of Geology
Room 007 North


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My research involves the application of trace-element ratios and Sr, Nd, Pb, Mo and Fe isotopic compositions to follow the fate of metals in the environment, in archaeological artifacts and in humans. The clean lab and our sensitive analytical instruments enable me and my students to study small-samples and/or materials with low elemental concentrations (e.g., dust samples, teeth and brain). Currently, my group is involved in research projects centering around:

1.     Records of aeolian, fluvial and lacustrine sediments as tracers of paleo-environment conditions and sediment sources.

2.     Tracing metal artifacts in antiquity.

3.     The dark side of ancient metallurgy: Measuring toxic metals and metallic isotopes (and aDNA) in human populations and in artifacts to trace the impact of early industries through time.

4. The association between elemental anomalies in the human brain and mental diseases.

We carry out these projects in collaboration with researchers from the Hebrew University (Earth Science, Archaeology, Medicine), the Geological Survey of Israel, Israel Oceanographic and Limnological Research, The Israel Antiquities Authority, Tel Aviv University, Haifa University, GFZ - Potsdam, Germany, Columbia University, University of California San Diego, University of Michigan, and the Institute of Geology and Geophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences. 


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Amos Frumkin

Amos Frumkin

Room 303 South


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Research Interests

(1) Karst and caves systems within the environment serve as the major arena for my research. Understanding karst helps me in solving questions in a diversity of research fields, such as paleoclimate, geomorphic evolution, paleohydrology, tectonics, environmental problems, human impact on ecosystems, and human use of underground space. Our group uses various methods for research, such as field observation and survey, hydrological measurements, geochemical analysis of water and rocks, stable isotopes analysis of water and sediments, radiometric dating (e.g. radiocarbon, U series, cosmogenic isotopes), geographic information systems, borehole analysis, and geophysical methods for analyzing the sub-surface. Evolution of aquifers as a result of enlarging karst conduits is an important focus of my research. Understanding such processes allows better utilization of the water resources of Israel and its neighbors, and avoiding pollution. Our group studies the recharge vadose zone at the mountains in central Israel, concentrating on recharge through karst shafts and cave drips injecting water and potentially pollution into the aquifer. Much of my research is focused in the phreatic, confined and hypogenic parts of the aquifers. It is found that most Israel's carbonate caves have initiated and developed to full size under such conditions. Ageing and dying stages of cave life are studied through excavations in filled caves.

Caves preserve unique records of the geological history of their region. They form along structural lines, they are deformed and uplifted with the rock, and they preserve ancient sediments with geological records. We study such features of tectonics, diapir rising rates and morphostructure of the Dead Sea basin and its shoulders.


(2) Paleoclimate and paleoenvironment: Reconstructing past environments is a major challenge in my research, addressing the need to calibrate climatic models and predict future environmental change. Karst caves function as shielded sediment traps within continental regions under erosional conditions. Therefore cave sediments have a great potential for climatic reconstruction in inhabited regions. We have succeeded in obtaining detailed well-dated climatic records for the Quaternary in Israel. The results solve some important questions on climate change during the Quaternary in the Levant and other regions, how it could influence humans, and the nature of climatic belts migration during glacial/interglacial cycles. The answers obtained have direct impact on understanding present and future climatic change. We have extended the paleoclimatic studies to lava caves, ancient wood preserved in caves, and to stromatolite caves in the Dead Sea basin. We obtained paleoenvironmental records for various climatic regions, such as the northern-central Dead Sea catchment, where we showed that glacials were wetter than interglacials in the Levant. Environmental catastrophes during the Holocene received particular attention, due to their relevance to present and future global change.


(3) Geoarchaeology: We mainly concentrate in using earth sciences methods for understanding human evolution, ancient water systems, natural processes in inhabited caves, and reasons for human use of caves in the past. The collaboration with archaeologists and earth scientists from several universities is very productive. We combine detailed geological and archaeological field study with modern laboratory methods in order to answer open questions. Among our studies: Dating of early Paleolithic cave inhabitants; paleoclimatic corridors for human migration out of Africa; understanding technical innovations and dating ancient water supply systems; understanding cave usage by humans, such as during Bar-Kokhba Revolt, using underground archaeoloy; comparing field evidence with historic and archaeologic records.




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