Why should there be a layer of marine sediments inland between two arid regions in Israel? Because the sea got there at some point. What could be causing this? A terrible tsunami. The tsunami that swept the Mediterranean Sea 9,000 years ago and had waves 40 meters high.
Sediments were examined near the ancient Tel Dor settlement in what is now Israel. Gilad Shtienberg of the University of California at San Diego and his colleagues did. You describe it in PLOS ONE. It is a large tsunami deposit from the early Holocene (9,910 to 9,290 years ago) in coastal sediments in Tel Dor.
The authors used photogrammetric remote sensing techniques to carry out their analysis. They created a digital model of the Tel Dor site combined with underwater digging and land drilling. They reached a depth of ten meters.
They found an abrupt sea clam 9,910 to 9,290 years ago and a sand layer with an age restriction. It was located in the middle of a large layer of ancient wetlands that stretched 15,000 to 7,800 years ago. What wave could get there? A coastal wave of 16 to 40 meters.
Previously documented tsunami events in the eastern Mediterranean only traveled about 300 meters inland. This suggests that the tsunami in Dor was triggered by a much more powerful mechanism: the distance from the sea was 4 kilometers. Local tsunamis usually occur due to earthquakes in the Dead Sea fault system and underwater landslides.
This certainly erased all human traces of that time. In later years, however, numerous archaeological sites from the late Neolithic (6,000 BC) appeared on the coast. The resettlement followed the event and highlighted resistance from residents.
Rebuilding the climate
Gilad Shtienberg says, “Our project focuses on rebuilding the ancient climate and environmental changes over the past 12,000 years along the Israeli coast. We never dreamed of finding evidence of a prehistoric tsunami in Israel. At the beginning of the Neolithic about 10,000 years ago, the coast was 4 kilometers from where it is today. When we cut through the kernels in San Diego and saw a layer of seashell embedded in the arid Neolithic landscape, we knew we had hit the jackpot. “
The tsunami that swept the Mediterranean Sea 9,000 years ago has left its mark to this day. Another sign of the change our planet continues to go through.