AGE CONSTRAINTS FOR THE GOLAN HEIGHTS VOLCANIC SOILS DETERMINED FROM INTEGRATING GEOCHEMICAL AND GEOCHRONOLOGICAL TOOLS
Here we present age constraints for the soils of the Golan Heights. Soils were surveyed and sampled with their respective basalt bedrock, for mineralogical and chemical analyses. Basalt age of the sampling sites spans between ~4.5 to 0.1 Ma. Accounting for dust contribution, mass balance calculations based on conservative immobile elements, coupled with basalt denudation rates based on 36Cl measurements, suggest that the soil ages are decoupled from the ages of the underlying basalt, and represent up to a few thousand years of soil production. This time frame is orders of magnitude shorter than the basalt age (~4.5-0.1 Ma) and challenges the prevalent assumption that these soils form a chronosequence, where the soils mature in correlation with the basalt age, and represent a slow and steady soil production process. Furthermore, these results suggest that despite the generally flat morphology of the plateau, this region is subject to erosion, loses soil at high rates, and hence is likely sensitive to changes in environmental conditions. This is particularly important in light of the known sensitivity of the Eastern Mediterranean climate to global climate change.