Orbital- and Millennial-Scale Changes in Lake-Levels Facilitate Earthquake-Triggered Mass Failures in the Dead Sea Basin

Yin Lu* (Corresponding Author), Jasper Moernaut, Nicolas Waldmann, Revital Bookman, G. Ian Alsop, Aurélia Hubert-Ferrari, Michael Strasser, Amotz Agnon, Shmuel Marco

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
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The possible link between the occurrence of submarine mass failure and climate-driven factors is highly disputed. This is due largely to the lack of comprehensive records of mass failures in the geologic record for which ages, triggers, and preconditioning factors can be reliably constrained. Such controls would allow accurate testing of cause-and-effect relationships. We present a record that comprises 490 earthquake-triggered mass failure deposits from the Dead Sea depocenter over the past 220 kyr that permits a robust statistical evaluation and correlation with potential preconditioning factors. Our data set reveals that (a) at the orbital- and millennial-scale, variable sedimentation rates are not a preconditioning factor for these mass failure deposits; (b) at the centennial-to decadal-scale, earthquake-triggered mass failures can occur at any lake-level state; (c) at the orbital- and millennial-scale, the mass failures are more frequent when lake-levels were high and punctuated by large-amplitude fluctuations.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2021GL093391
Number of pages12
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number14
Early online date30 Jun 2021
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jul 2021

Bibliographical note

The authors appreciate the editor L. Flesch for handling our manuscript, Ed Pope and Sebastian Cardona for constructive reviews. This research was supported by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF): M 2817 to Y. Lu and P30285-N34 to J. Moernaut, the University of Liege under Special Funds for Research, IPD-STEMA Program (R.DIVE.0899-J-F-G to Y. Lu), the Israel Science Foundation (#1645/19 to S. Marco and #1093/10 to R. Bookman), and the ICDP. A.A. is indebted to the Helmholtz Virtual Institute DESERVE for support. The authors thank C. Daxer for help modeling the Kernel Density and Nadav Wetzler for discussion.


  • mass failures
  • triggers
  • preconditioning factors
  • sea-level change
  • sedimentation rate
  • Dead Sea


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