Along with the closure of the Neotethys after the middle Eocene, the paleogeography of the northern Arabian Peninsula changed significantly. Shorelines that had previously extended from Egypt eastward toward the Persian Gulf changed their course northward toward Turkey along the present-day Mediterranean coasts. This paper examines the trends of Late Tertiary shorelines from central Israel northward and documents the gradual change in shoreline direction. The topographic continuity along Israel's mountainous backbone from Judea to Samaria to Mount Carmel and the similarity in the exposed rock units throughout these regions raise the possibility that their exposure history is similar. However, integration of the information obtained from both north and south of Mount Carmel suggests that differential movements that had uplifted and truncated the Carmel structure only began during the late Miocene, some 20–25 m.y. after the exposure of central Israel. In addition, morphostratigraphic analysis of ancient abrasive and erosive surfaces at the Carmel-Samaria foothills suggests that unlike the Pliocene shoreline that surrounded Mount Carmel from the west, Oligocene to middle Miocene shorelines did not reach that region and extended from central Israel northeastward. Based on these data and a compilation of additional knowledge, we discuss the regional gradual land exposure and suggest that northern Israel was exposed much later than central and southern Israel and that a major phase of regional uplift occurred in the early Miocene.
- Received 1 September 2010.
- Accepted 15 October 2010.
- © 2011 Geological Society of America