Seminar Details

Flashfloods form hyperpycnal plumes in the hyper-arid Gulf of Aqaba




Dr. Timor Katz - IOLR, Haifa


Running rivers are scarce in the widely distributed hyperarid and arid coastlines (~28000 km worldwide), and it is ephemeral rivers that carry most terrestrial sediments into the sea. However, there is very little information regarding the contribution and dynamics of terrestrial sediments that enter marine basins from these rivers. One such region, the hyperarid Gulf of Aqaba, received an exceptional number of flashflood events during the winter of 2012-2013, presenting us with a unique opportunity to study related sedimentary processes in the sea. The results illustrate, for the first time, how the high volume of flashflood sediments elevates floodwater densities leading to the production of hyperpycnal plumes despite highest ocean salinities, influences the distribution of coral reefs, and dwarfs the contribution of airborne dust. The great majority of flood sediments that are primarily deposited on the shelf are later transported to the deep basin where they may be preserved as a climate archive.

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