Paleoclimate; lacustrine sediments; deep drilling; multiproxy; subsurface biosphere; Dead Sea; extremophiles
(2016), Microbial sedimentary imprint on the deep Dead Sea sediment, in The Depositional Record
, 2(1), 118-138.
(2015), Impact of paleoclimate on the distribution of microbial communities in the subsurface sediment of the Dead Sea, in Geobiology
, 13(6), 546-561.
(2015), Present and future of subsurface biosphere studies in lacustrine sediments through scientific drilling, in International Journal of Earth Sciences
, 104(6), 1655-1665.
(2014), Archaeal populations in two distinct sedimentary facies of the subsurface of the Dead Sea, in Marine Genomics
, 17, 53-62.
(2014), Lithology of the long sediment record recovered by the ICDP Dead Sea Deep Drilling Project (DSDDP), in Quaternary Science Reviews
, 102, 149-165.
(2011), Dead Sea Deep Cores: A window into past climate and seismicity, in EOS, Transactions AGU
, 92(49), 453-454.
(2011), Deep Drilling at the Dead Sea, in Scientific Drilling
, 11, 46-47.
An international team of scientists has been attracted to cooperate in the Dead Sea Deep Drilling Project (DSDDP) within the framework of the already funded initiative by the International Continental Scientific Drilling Program (ICDP). The present Dead Sea is located in the lowest continental elevation on Earth that has been intermittently filled by several water bodies during the Neogene-Quaternary periods. Thus, the sedimentary fill of the DSB comprises an archive of the limnological-hydrological-seismic histories of the region, which are modulated by global climate and rift transform fault tectonics. We propose to recover these histories through a deep drill core in the deep northern basin of the present Dead Sea. Combined with the information obtained from the exposed (onshore) sedimentary sections, the core will provide high-resolution paleo-climatic and paleo- seismic records of the DSB for the past several glacial-interglacial cycles. The seismic information will be amalgamated with that of basin development and rift tectonics, and the paleo-hydrological and paleoclimate information will be integrated and evaluated in the framework of global climate modeling.The proposed drilling operation succeeds several decades of extensive study in the Dead Sea basin. The activity of the various research groups involved in this ICDP project has led to the development of new geochemical approaches, absolute dating methods, lake level reconstruction, paleomagnetism and cosmogenic isotope studies, as well as pioneering paleoseismic investigations. Within the framework of this project these scientific groups will lead the research on the sediment cores using their excellent analytical facilities. Additionaly, the Dead Sea Basin has been a major route of human migration and development, and the modern Dead Sea has enormous economic importance. Thus, the proposed research will make an important contribution to the understanding of the environmental conditions that accompanied human development during the middle to late Quaternary and will help shaping the future of the DSB. The Swiss research contribution to this international project will be centered in investigating the microbial communities within the sediments to characterize the subsurface biosphere in such a unique extreme environment emphasizing integrated studies of microbiology, geochemistry (interstitial waters), and mineral authigenesis/diagenesis. This proposal follows on previous SNF-funded ICDP projects and is part of the long-term Swiss scientific efforts to reconstruct Quaternary climates using continental records. It seeks to match funds already partially allocated through ICDP to accomplish the drilling operations.