Rock varnish evidence for a Younger Dryas wet period in the Dead Sea basin



[1] Rock varnish from 14.6 to 13.2 ka recessional shorelines of late glacial Lake Lisan and fan delta surfaces between 280 and 365 m bmsl (meters below mean sea level) along the western margins of the Dead Sea contains replicable layering patterns, characterized by a low Mn and Ba orange/yellow surface layer and a high Mn and Ba dark basal layer. The deposition of the dark basal layers immediately after the lake recession represents a wet period coinciding with the Younger Dryas (YD) cooling (12.9–11.6 ka), manifesting the influence of midlatitude westerly winds in the eastern Mediterranean-central Levant (EM-CL). In contrast, varnish from the distal base of fan deltas contains only orange/yellow surface layers, diagnostic of the Holocene relatively dry climate. The absence of the dark basal layers in the varnish further indicates a YD high stand at ~365 m bmsl and a lake level rise of at least 100 m from its Bølling-Ållerød lowstand. This rise stands in contrast to the abrupt drop of the lake level during the Heinrich (H1) cold event, illustrating the opposite response of the EM-CL climate to changes in the North Atlantic climate. The YD wet event most likely reflects a southward shift of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation-modulated midlatitude westerly wind belt in the EM-CL region.