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Lake Kinneret (Israel): New insights into Holocene regional palaeoclimate variability based on high-resolution multi-proxy analysis

Vossel, Hannah; Roeser, Patricia; Litt, Thomas; Reed, Jane M.


Hannah Vossel

Patricia Roeser

Thomas Litt

Jane M. Reed


The southern Levant is a Mediterranean climate zone of complex variability in which uncertainty remains in regional palaeoclimate reconstruction. In spite of the proven value of diatoms in circum-Mediterranean palaeoenvironmental research, their potential remains largely unexplored in the southern Levant region. In this study, we generate a new, high-resolution multi-proxy record for the last ca. 9000 cal. yr BP, supported by diatom data and key biological, mineralogical and geochemical indicators preserved in a 17.8-m-long sediment sequence recovered from Lake Kinneret (the Sea of Galilee), Israel. During the Holocene, well-correlated shifts in the diatom, minero-geochemical and palynological data indicate marked lake-level variation over time as well as changes in the trophic state of Lake Kinneret. Our results are particularly important in improving the reconstruction of Holocene lake-level variation, and thus past moisture availability. Diatom-inferred lake-level oscillations correlate well with the output from climatic models from the Levantine region and clarify previous uncertainty concerning regional variation in moisture availability. The Early Holocene (from ca. 9000 to 7400 cal. yr BP) was characterized by lake-level shifts due to fluctuating dry-wet climate conditions. During the mid-Holocene (from 7400 to 2200 cal. yr BP), a stable, deep lake-level phase persisted due to high humidity. The lake level of modern Lake Kinneret not only fluctuates seasonally with available moisture, but has also been influenced for ca. 2000 years by the impacts of water abstraction for human consumption and agriculture. Over the last 9000 cal. yr BP, the trophic state of Lake Kinneret has changed from an oligotrophic to a meso- to eutrophic environment, mainly triggered by increased human impact from around 2200 cal. yr BP onwards. The lake’s ecosystem status was not strongly affected by the documented major changes in human occupation patterns during the mid-Holocene, when a relatively stable environment persisted.


Vossel, H., Roeser, P., Litt, T., & Reed, J. M. (2018). Lake Kinneret (Israel): New insights into Holocene regional palaeoclimate variability based on high-resolution multi-proxy analysis. Holocene, 28(9), 1395-1410.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Apr 11, 2018
Online Publication Date Jun 11, 2018
Publication Date Sep 1, 2018
Deposit Date Oct 30, 2018
Publicly Available Date Oct 31, 2018
Print ISSN 0959-6836
Electronic ISSN 1477-0911
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 28
Issue 9
Pages 1395-1410
Keywords Diatoms; Human activity; Lacustrine carbonates; Levant; Palaeoecology; Sea of Galilee
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