From mass-wasting to slope stabilization – putting constrains on a tectonically induced transition in slope erosion mode: a case study in the Judea Hills, Israel


Correspondence to: Uri Ryb, The Fredy and Nadine Herrmann institute of Earth Sciences, Admond J. Safra Campus, Givat Ram, Jerusalem, 91904, Israel. Email:


Calcrete-coated remnants of landslide debris and alluvial deposits are exposed along the presently stable hillslopes of the Soreq drainage, Judea Hills, Israel. These remnants indicate that a transition from landslide-dominated terrain to dissolution-controlled hillslope erosion had occurred. This transition possibly occurred due to the significant decrease in tectonic uplift during the late Cenozoic. The study area is characterized by sub-humid Mediterranean climate. The drainage hillslopes are typically mantled by thick calcrete crusts overlying Upper Cretaceous marine carbonate rocks. Using TT-OSL dating of aeolian quartz grains incorporated in the calcrete which cements an ancient landslide deposit, we conclude that incision of ~100 m occurred from 1056 ± 262 to 688 ± 86 ka due to ~0·3° westward tilt of the region; such incision invoked high frequency of landslide activity in the drainage. The ages of a younger landslide remnant, alluvial terrace, and alluvial fan, all situated only a few meters above the present level of the active streambed, range between 688 ± 86 ka and 244 ± 25 ka and indicate that since 688 ± 86 the Soreq base level had stabilized and that landslide activity decreased significantly by the middle Pleistocene. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.