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Open AccessArticle

Composition of Modern Dust and Holocene Aeolian Sediments in Archaeological Structures of the Southern Levant

1
FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg, Institute of Geography, Wetterkreuz 15, 91058 Erlangen, Germany
2
Geological Survey of Israel, Jerusalem 9692100, Israel
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Sede Boker Campus & Department of Geography and Environmental Development, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research, Beer-Sheva 8410501, Israel
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School of Natural Resources Engineering and Management, German Jordanian University, Madaba, Amman 11180, Jordan
5
Ancient Near Eastern Empires Centre of Excellence, P.O. Box 3, University of Helsinki, 00014 Helsinki, Finland
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Atmosphere 2019, 10(12), 762; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos10120762
Received: 24 October 2019 / Revised: 20 November 2019 / Accepted: 27 November 2019 / Published: 30 November 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soil/Mineral Dust Aerosols in the Earth System)
Archaeological structures are often filled with sediments and may serve as effective dust traps. The physical parameters and chemical composition of archaeological soils in hilltop ruins, ancient runoff-collecting terraces, and cleanout spoils of cisterns were determined in the Petra region in southern Jordan and the Northern Negev in Israel. Different types of ruins are characterized by certain soil structures, but could not be distinguished with regard to substrate composition. This reflects a predominance of aeolian processes for primary sedimentation, while fluvial processes seem to only re-distribute aeolian material. In the Petra region, the physical and chemical properties of all archaeological soils show a significant local contribution from associated weathered rocks. Compared to modern settled dust, archaeological soils in Southern Jordan are enriched with various major and trace elements associated with clays and oxide coatings of fine silt particles. This seems connected with preferential fixation of silt and clay by surface crusts, and a role of moisture in sedimentation processes as calcareous silt was found to be deposited in greater amounts when associated with precipitation. In contrast, the contribution of rocks is negligible in the Negev due to greater rock hardness and abundant biological crusts that seal surfaces. Archaeological soils in the Negev are chemically similar to current settled dust, which consists of complex mixtures of local and remote sources, including significant portions of recycled material from paleosols. Archaeological soils are archives of Holocene dust sources and aeolian sedimentation processes, with accretion rates exceeding those of Pleistocene hilltop loess in the Negev. Comparison with Pleistocene paleosols suggests that dust sources did not change significantly, but disappearance of snow could have reduced dust accumulation during the Holocene.
Keywords: Holocene; loess; archaeological soils; dust; aeolian sedimentation; EMMAgeo; runoff-irrigated terraces; snow; precipitation influence; pre-weathered deposits Holocene; loess; archaeological soils; dust; aeolian sedimentation; EMMAgeo; runoff-irrigated terraces; snow; precipitation influence; pre-weathered deposits
MDPI and ACS Style

Lucke, B.; Sandler, A.; Vanselow, K.A.; Bruins, H.J.; Abu-Jaber, N.; Bäumler, R.; Porat, N.; Kouki, P. Composition of Modern Dust and Holocene Aeolian Sediments in Archaeological Structures of the Southern Levant. Atmosphere 2019, 10, 762.

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