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Geomoxphology 12 (1995) 91-107

Use of soils and colluvial deposits in analyzing tectonic


events - The southern Arava Rift, Israel
R. Amit a, J.B.J. Harrison b, Y. Enzel a
aThe Institute of Earth Sciences, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel
b Department of Geosciences, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, Socorro, NM 87801, USA

Received 15 August 1994; revised 15 November 1994; accepted 16 November 1994

Abstract

Buried soils in colluvium units developed on downthrown fault blocks have been presumed to form during periods of tectonic
quiescence. This assumes however, that all colluvial units on a fault scarp are tectonically induced, particularly for a multiple-
event fault scarp. To test this hypothesis we compared the colluvial stratigraphy and pattern of soil development on two non-
tectonic scarps (terrace risers) and a nearby multiple-event fault scarp on the same alluvial fan surface. Both slopes developed
under extremely arid climatic conditions. The colluvial stratigraphy and soil catenary relationship developed on terrace risers
were found to be substantially different from those on the multiple-event fault scarp. The fault scarp colluvium contained several
colluvial units separated by soils, whereas only two colluvial units without buried soils were found on the terrace risers. The
colluvial units on the fault scarp were triangular in shape, while those on the terrace riser were concave and overlapped up the
slope. Cumulic soils, indicating a continuous and low rate of deposition during pedogenesis, were formed along the terrace riser.
In contrast, buried soils indicating episodic deposition occurred on the downthrown block of the multiple-event fault scarp.
Accordingly, the colluvial stratigraphy developed on the fault scarp can be viewed as a record of distinct tectonic events with
no climatically controlled deposition. The data indicate that soils and sedimentary stratigraphy can serve as useful indicators to
distinguish terrace risers and single-event fault scarps from multiple-event fault scarps. These indicators can be helpful in
distinguishing phases of tectonic activity and in evaluating recurrence intervals on a multiple-fault scarp.

1. Introduction
be used to estimate the approximate magnitude of past
Colluvium along a fault scarp consists of debris earthquakes (Bonilla et al., 1984).
derived from the upper segment of the slope which has The stratigraphy of deposits adjacent to young faults,
been deposited at its lower part (Wallace, 1977). Col- however, is often very complex. This complexity is due
luvial units are formed in response to topographic dis- to many factors including: (a) diverse initial patterns
placements created by faulting and hence can be used of surface rupture (Crone et al., 1987; Nelson, 1992))
as a means of distinguishing faulting events (Machette, (b) fragmentary records resulting from erosion and
1978; Schwartz and Coppersmith, 1984; McCalpin, truncation of previously deposited colluvial, alluvial
1987; Nelson, 1987; Machette, 1988; Machette et al., and eolian sediments (Nelson, 1992), and (c) insuf-
1992; McCalpin et al., 1994). Stratigraphic relations ficient information about the colluviation process, the
indicate the amount of vertical displacement for an colluvial stratigraphy and the catenary relationship on
individual slip event on a fault. Such information can non-tectonically induced slopes.

0169-555X/95/$09.50 0 1995 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved


SSDIO169-555X(94)00081-6
Fig. 1.Aerial view and location map of the Nahal Shehoret alluvial fan (Tl, T2, T6 refer to trench locations).
R. Amit et al. /Geomorphology 12 (1995) 91-107 93

The complexity can be resolved in part, by using the A salic-gypsic Reg soil, typical to this extremely
degree of soil development on fault scarps and by the arid region, developed in the non-consolidated alluvial
degree of buried soil development to determine the and colluvial material composing these alluvial sur-
hiatus in deposition in the colluvium. Soils can also be faces (Dan et al., 1982; Amit and Gerson, 1986; Amit
used to estimate the age of faulted and unfaulted depos- et al., 1993). According to Soil Survey Staff (1975)
its in order to ascertain the time of the tectonic event and ICOMID (1989) these soils are classified as Tor-
(Borchardt et al., 1980; Swan et al., 1980; McCalpin, rifluvents, Typic Haplogypsid and Gypsic Haplosalide
1982; Bull and Knuepfer, 1987; Knuepfer, 1988; Nel- according to their degree of development.
son and Van Arsdale, 1986, Gerson et al., 1993). A distinct fault trace that offsets the Pleistocene age
Where no clear colluvial or sedimentary stratigraphy (Qal ) stable surface of the Nahal Shehoret alluvial fan
exists, buried soils can be used as stratigraphic markers (Figs. 1, 2) was trenched and logged by Gerson et al.
in separating colluvial and alluvial units (Gerson et al., ( 1993). The colluvium composition on the down-
1993). thrown block was homogeneous, but the presence of
It is possible however, that some of the colluvial buried soils indicated a hiatus in the depositional rec-
units within fault scarp colluvium may be a result of ord. This was interpreted as an indicator of periods of
slope processes related to extreme storm events rather tectonic quiescence (Figs. 3, 4). The entire offset on
than to tectonics. The ability to unequivocally relate the fault occurred during nine discrete events over a
colluvial stratigraphy to tectonic events is crucial in period of 100,000, years with a 1000-3000 year recur-
determining the frequency and magnitude of recent and rence interval (Gerson et al., 1993). The Nahal She-
paleoseismic events. This has particular relevance in horet stream flows normal to the fault trace and has cut
extremely arid areas where intense storms are common a series of terraces in the Shehoret alluvial fan (Fig.
and the fault scarps as well as the alluvial surfaces are 2). Two terrace risers, one from Qal to Qa2 and another
bare of vegetation. This study is aimed at distinguishing from Qal to Qa3, were chosen to represent non-tectonic
colluvial units which are tectonically induced from terrace scarps. The surface characteristics of the desert
those which are not, by using pedogenic and strati- pavement and the degree of soil development on these
graphic characteristics. surfaces suggest the Qa2 is middle to late Holocene in
age (Fig. 5) while Qa3 is late Holocene. Degradation
of these scarps should be controlled primarily through
2. The study site
slope processes not tectonically induced. It was
In the southern Dead Sea Rift, along the western expected that by comparing the soils and colluvial stra-
margins of the Arava valley and the Gulf of Eilat, there tigraphy on the terrace risers to the fault scarp, we
are many alluvial fans which are displaced by normal would be able to distinguish between a tectonically and
faults (Bentor et al., 1965; Zak and Freund, 1966; Gar- non-tectonically controlled sedimentation process on
funkel, 1970; Garfunkelet al., 1981; GersonandGross- scarps. The research site enabled us to compare terrace
man, 1991; Gerson et al., 1993). These numerous risers and fault scarps that developed in the same sur-
normal faults striking 15”-45” from the apparent trace face (Qal ) and were formed under the same climatic
of the plate boundary, the strike slip lineament (Gerson conditions.
et al., 1984; Gerson and Grossman, 1991). The alluvial The present climate in the southern Arava valley is
fan surfaces formed primarily during the Pleistocene extremely arid. Mean annual precipitation is 30 mm
period (Amit et al., 1993; Gerson et al., 1993). They and the mean annual temperature is 25°C (Atlas of
are characterized by poorly sorted cobbles and boulders Israel, 1985). During most of the Quatemary the region
composed of a variety of lithologies including lime- experienced mildly ( 150-250 mm yr- ’) to extremely
stone, chert, sandstone, granite, schist and diorite, with arid conditions ( < 80 mm yr-‘) (Begin et al., 1974,
all derived from the Nahal Shehoret drainage basin. 1985; Neev and Hall, 1977; Horowitz, 1979; Gat and
The average slope is l”28’. Magaritz, 1980)
94

- Observed fault
. .. Buried fault
- Trench
- + stream

Fig. 2. The study site displaying the alluvial fan surfaces of Nahal Shehoret.

3. Methods A well-developed Holocene Reg soil ( 14 ka) (Fig.


6. stage D) has the following characteristics: The C
3.1. Relative age dating horizon occupies most of the soil profile. It is 30-70
cm thick, gravelly with less than 10% fine material. The
The age estimates of the different alluvial fan sur- average composition of the fine material is sand 60%,
faces and the colluvial units in this study are based on silt 35%, and clay 5%. Salinity of the soil profile is not
the degree of Reg soil development correlated to Nahal very high, with 9-10% gypsum and l-2% salts in the
Zeelim chronosequences as well as older soils on allu- fine soil fraction. Sixty percent of the large clasts are
vial surfaces dated from prehistorical artifacts in the shattered by salts. The B horizon is thin ( 5 cm thick)
Zin valley (Amit and Gerson, 1986; Amit et al., 1993 ). and gravelly. The A horizon is a thin ( < 5 mm), silty,
In these previous studies five stages of Reg soil devel- vesicular Av horizon. A gravely bar and swale topog-
opment were determined (Fig. 6). raphy typifies the surface. A mature Reg soil of Pleis-
Description of units: WEST
1,4 Sandy silt
2 Grit, granules and sand
3,8,9,11,13,23 Coarse gravel
5-7 Sand and fine gravel
6 Sand and coarse gravel
10,12,22 Fine gravel
14.24 Silt, sand and fine gravel
15-21 Sand, silt and fine gravel
1518,20-21.24 Colluvial units

EAST

m Gravel
D Fine gravel
m Sandy silt

D Sand and silt


Well developed Reg soil

Petrosalic horizon

- Sedimentary contact
:: Rotated clasts
T6-4 Soil profile
---- Fault A Qal Alluvial fan surface
N63W90E
11 - I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I
01234567;;
I
10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24
DISTANCE (m)
Fig. 3. Log of trench T6 across a fault scarp of a Late Pleistocene Qal surface in Nahal Shehoret (from Gerson et al., 1993).
96 K. A& et crl. / Geomorphology 12 (1995) 91-107

Fig. 4. The colluvial sequence in trench T6. Note the Reg soil buried by the colluvium.

tocene age (older than 50 ka) ( Fig. 6, stage E) has the et al., 1993 ) Salt-shattering of gravel is estimated to
following characteristics: The soil profile is 80-l 60 cm occur over a period of 100&2000 years, whereas the
thick. The ground surface usually consists of a well- development of a petrosalic horizon requires tens of
developed desert pavement covering > 85% of the sur- thousands of years on flat stable surfaces (Amit and
face. It is composed of small stones most of which are Gerson, 1986; Amit et al., 1993: Gerson et al., 1993).
l-5 cm in size. Bar and swale topography is not dis- The soils were described after Soil Survey Staff
cernible. The surface is barren of vegetation. The silty. ( 1975 ) , ICOMTD ( 1989), Yaalon ( 1966). and Bir-
vesicular A horizon is 5 cm thick. The B horizon is 5- keland, (1984).
40 cm thick, entirely or almost entirely gravel-free. The
C horizon is 70-120 cm thick. The salinity of the lower -3.2. Trenching, mapping and description
part of the B horizon and C horizon is very high, with
lo-30% gypsum and 50-70% soluble salts. A petros- Two trenches were excavated perpendicular to the
alit horizon developed, at an average depth of 80 cm. terrace riser (Tl and T2; Fig. 2). The trenches were up
From the surface to a depth of 60 cm, 60-80% of the to 10 m long, 5 m deep and 1 m wide with vertical
gravel are mechanically shattered by salts. walls. Topographic profiles of both the terrace riser and
The most useful Reg soil characteristics for provid- the fault scarp were measured perpendicular to the
ing age estimates of surfaces in very arid environments scarps and prior to trenching. One wall in each trench
are in situ shattered gravel in the B and C horizons and was selected for mapping. A metric horizontal datum
the presence of a petrosalic horizon. In situ shattered line was established along the trench wall and vertical
gravel is gravel which, although shattered by salts, rod sections were taken to delineate contacts of alluvial
maintains its original form. As the shattering process and colluvial units and pedogenic horizons. The differ-
occurs within the upper 50 cm of the soil profile (Amit entiation between alluvial and colluvial stratigraphic
et al., 1993) the shattered gravel at depths greater than units was based on texture, structure, type of boundary.
50 cm indicates a buried soil ( Amit et al., 1993; Gerson color, degree of cohesion and pedogenic features.
R. Amit et al. /Geomorphology 12 (1995) 91-107 91

Fig. 5. Terrace riser T2 and the Holocene surface Qa2.

3.3. Laboratory analyses Na+, K+, Mg*+ and Ca*+ were measured by atomic
absorption. Gypsum content was determined by the
Salinity was determined by measuring electrical con- Schleiff (1979) method. The granulometric analysis
ductivity in an 1: 1 extract. Cation concentrations of included dry sieving to separate the gravel from sand

g o-
i
L _
Y
20-

40-

60.

SO-

IOO-

I20

Fig. 6. Stages of Reg soil evolution (from Amit et al., 1993).


R. Amit et al. / Geomorphology 12 (1995) 91-107

Fig. 7. Terrace riser of trench T2 and its colluvium. Note the relation between the alluvium and the colluvium.

and fines, and wet sieving to separate the sand and fines. B. The backslope - the degrading part of the ter-
A sedigraph was employed for silt and clay separation race riser to the point of inflection.
after salt removal, using Sodium Diphosphate 10 C. The footslope -the aggrading part of the terrace
Hydrate as a dispersive agent. riser from the point of inflection down to the
lower Holocene terrace tread.
D. Surfaces Qa2 and Qa3 - the original lower
4. Results
Holocene terrace surfaces.

4.1. The terrace riser (non-tectonic scarp)


The two terrace risers Tl and T2 have a very similar
Reg soil development (Amit et al., 1993; Gerson et morphology, height 3.54 m, length 12-15 m and
al., 1993) and infrared stimulated luminescence declivity 23”-24” (Figs. 8 and 9). The surface are cov-
(IRSL) (Porat et al., 1994) indicate that the alluvial ered by approximately 80% rounded and moderately
fan surface Qal (Fig. 3) was formed in the late Pleis- weathered gravel with an average diameter of 10 cm.
tocene. Reg soils developed on surfaces Qa2 and Qa3 A thin silty crust occurs between the surface gravel.
suggest that they are early to mid Holocene in age, The shape of the colluvium is concave and its depth
respectively. The terrace risers Qal to Qa3 (Tl ) and ‘decreases upslope (Fig. 7). It consists of weathered
Qal to Qa2 (T2) are considered to be slightly younger and un-weathered coarse and fine alluvium with wash
than the lower terrace tread to which they descend. The and eolian deposits. The lower colluvial unit Cl is
terrace riser is discussed using a combination of terms composed of two sub-units, C 1a and C 1b. Unit C 1a is
common to morphologic segments of slope (Ruhe and composed of rubbly coarse gravel with low amounts of
Walker, 1968) and to fault scarp studies (Wallace, fine material (Figs. 8 and 9; Tables 1 and 2) and was
1977; Berry, 1990). deposited primarily by gravity collapse processes
The terrace risers were divided into four segments immediately adjacent to the near vertical scarp. Over-
(Figs. 10 and 11) : lying this unit is Clb composed of rounded and angular
A. Surface Qal - the original late Pleistocene sur- poorly sorted gravel finer than that in unit Cla. The
face. average diameter of the gravel is 4 cm and there is a
R. Amit et al. /Geomotphology 12 (1995) 91-107 99

Qal
Colluvial unit C2 m Tl-I
Ti-2
Colluvial unit Cla m I
m0
Colluvial unit Clb m

Petrosalic horizon I
Alluvium 0
Alluvial fan surface Qal

Bottom of trench
//
I I I I I I I I I I
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 6 9 10m

Fig. 8. Log of trench Tl.

higher amount of a matrix composed mainly of fine deposited parallel to the slope, with occasional gravel
sand and silt. The upper colluvial unit C2 is composed of 0.5 cm average diameter. The finer layers have a
mainly of fine material thinly stratified (OS-1 cm) and vesicular structure. The sedimentary texture and struc-

Qal

T2-2 ‘T-1
m0 T2-3 I

1 INTWCTION

Colluvial unit C2

Colluvial unit Cla

Colluvial unit C lb

Petrodic horizon
6
Alluvium
Alluvial fan surface

7
-r
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 6 9 10 llm
Fig. 9. Log of trench T2.
100 R. Amir et d. / tieomorpholo~y I2 f 1995) 91-107

Table I
Field and laboratory characteristics of a soil catena along a terrace riser. Nahal Shehoret alluvial fan (Trench Tl in Fig. IO)

Soil Depth EC Gypsum Ca? Mg” K Na ’ Shattered Gravel Boundary” Sand Silt Clay
horizon (cm) (mS/cm) (meq/lOO (mg/IOO (mg/lOO (mg/lOO (mgi100 gravel (R) (%I (%‘o) (%I
g soil ) g soil 1 f wil 1 g soil) g soil) (5%)

TI-I
Av” O-3 5.‘) 4.3 65.0 13.2 Y.0 31.5 - <I c 55.3 32.7 12.0
BlgP 3-10 6.8 3.0 77.0 IS.6 7.3 4I.O 5 <I c 78.9 14.6 6.6
B2y l&20 31.0 377.5 186.0 ‘5.6 76.5 483.3 4&50 80-90 g 56.4 40.2 3.4
BUY 2wo 13.7 147.4 123.0 20.6 10.5 I64.0 10 20 g 87.1 11.0 I .‘)
Clyz 40-60 19.7 103.9 144.0 34.0 14.0 ‘530
_. _. 5 60 g X7.3 10.5 2.3
C2zmy 60-150 140.5 123.0 188.3 78.3 17.1 3750.0 - 80 a 81.7 18.2 0.2
c3z 150-250 72.4 144.1 185.0 3 1.o ‘0.7 1850.0 60 a 77.6 22.1 0.3

TI -2
AV” O-3 3.4 50.8 56.0 4.4 3.‘) 7.8 - <I C 62.2 30.9 6.9
BY 3-1s 7.9 16.3 56.0 2.7 I .h 2.8 40-50 60 c 72.3 25.7 2.0
CY 15-50 8.S 34.1 74.S IS.0 Y.0 x3.5 20 80 a 88.3 8.8 2.9

T/-3
AV” o-o.5 1.6 2.1 24.0 7.0 3.5 3.0 <I c 70.0 24.3 5.7
C’Y 0.5-9 3.6 43.3 55.0 5.1 4.X 12.0 l&IS 70 # 80.8 14.7 4.S
C2Y 940 4.9 57.6 60.0 6.4 5.Y 32.0 - 70 C 86.2 1 I.8 1.9
C3Y 40-78 Il.0 14.3 73.0 Y.X 12.5 170.0 - 70 C 92.9 5.5 1.7
C4zmb 80+ 59.8 30.9 65.0 21.6 23.5 1233.3 - 70 _ 86.4 7.1 6.5

TI-4
Al o-10 1.7 1.x 23.0 2.4 4.3 6.X - S 77.3 18.2 4.5
A2 l&25 2.3 2. I 21.5 -1.-l 7.3 17.5 5 70 70.2 20.7 9.1
Cl 25-40 7.5 14.8 65.0 x.7 X.S 79.0 5 70 93.0 5.2 I.8
C2zmb 40-70 11.2 11.4 74.0 7.Y 7.5 177.0 - 70 93.3 5.2 I .S

n-5
Al &IO 4.5 11.4 s7.0 S.X X.S 26.0 - <I c 71.1 25.3 3.1
A2 lo-24 4.0 2.6 37.5 5.9 10.0 32.0 IO 70 s 70.3 20.7 Y.0
Cl 24-38 11.0 2.3 45.0 Y.5 IO.5 178.0 I0 70 a 76.5 15.6 7.X
c2 38-68 12.4 38.4 79.0 13.4 IO.0 178.0 - 80 a 87.4 11.8 0.X

TI-6
Al O-4 3.1 2.9 15.0 3.6 7.0 40.5 <I g 73.6 21.5 4.x
A2 4-20 5.0 3.8 12.0 2.0 10.4 XI.S - 60 B 72.9 21.9 5.3
Cl 2%40 9.4 6.1 IS.0 7.1 21.0 180.0 - 60 g 77.5 16.3 6.’
C2Y 4G50 17.9 17.0 90.0 14.4 29.0 316.0 2-5 80 g 82.5 I 1.9 5.6
C3Y 50-75 69.8 27.6 153.3 14.6 30.0 1815.0 - 70 a 80.6 17.2 2.2
Czmb 75-100 49.3 70.0 143.3 22.3 33.0 1185.0 - 70 a 73.5 19.9 6.7

TI-7
Al &24 8.7 2.X 13.5 ‘.I 22.0 172.0 - 20 g 73.4 20.2 6.4
A2 24-35 14.8 12.0 31.0 X.0 24.0 308.0 - 70 g 80.4 13.6 6.0
Clyz 35-50 15.5 6.5 60.0 14.4 21.0 256.0 5 70 C 89.1 7.2 3.6
c2z 50-65 19.0 12.3 97.0 17.0 20.0 320.3 - 80 a 90.0 7.5 2.5
Czmb 65-100 173.8 305.7 200.0 25.0 32.0 4950.0 - 80 a 65.2 32.4 2.4
Czb 100-130 8.8 6.2 74.0 Il.6 6.6 98.0 - 80 a 93.7 4.4 1.9
R. Amit et al. IGeomotphology 12 (1995) 91-107 101

Soil Depth EC Gypsum Ca*+ Mg*+ K+ Na+ Shattered Gravel Bounda$’ Sand Silt Clay
horizon (cm) (mS/cm) (meq/lOO (mg/lOO (mg/lOO (mg/lOO (mg/lOO gravel (%) (%) (%) (%)
g soil) g soil) g soil) g soil) g soil) (%)

Tl-8
Al Gl2 11.6 5.3 23.5 4.1 14.0 256.0 - 20 c 74.2 20.2 5.6
A2 12-19 22.1 7.0 108.0 20.8 31.0 376.0 - 80 c 62.8 33.1 4.1
ClY 19-37 19.1 11.1 151.7 25.3 30.0 322.0 10 80 g 76.5 20.9 2.6
czyz 37-50 15.5 9.1 121.7 23.1 21.0 256.0 2-5 80 g 91.2 7.1 1.8
Czmb 5CL95 107.6 79.2 176.7 31.7 36.0 3200.0 - 80 a 15.0 20.3 4.7

n-9
Al G3 5.7 3.9 35.0 6.4 8.4 75.0 - 20 c 74.7 19.7 5.5
A2 3-6 10.6 5.1 49.0 9.6 20.0 169.5 - 50 a 68.0 23.2 8.8
Bw 68 16.1 7.8 88.0 14.6 21.0 265.0 - 20 c 63.5 24.8 11.8
Clzy 8-28 12.6 8.2 90.0 15.6 21.0 169.0 60 60 g 85.4 10.0 4.6
c2z 28+ 13.2 8.4 81.0 16.0 20.0 188.0 - 70 - 88.7 11.1 0.2

Tl-10
Av” @-0.5 3.8 2.7 33.0 5.4 7.5 38.0 - 10 c 58.0 33.2 8.8
Bw 0.5-I .5 5.0 3.3 30.0 6.8 9.4 57.0 - 70 a 36.5 41.7 21.8
ClY 1.5-20 8.5 7.5 73.5 10.0 12.8 90.0 1G15 70 g 90.3 7.4 2.3
c2 2wo 8.6 8.3 71.0 11.4 14.9 85.0 - 80 g 93.2 4.2 2.6

Key to table: for definitions see Soil Survey Staff ( 1975) and Birkeland ( 1984).
a Av = vesicular A horizon, gf = gravel-free B horizon.
b c =clear, g = gradual; a = abrupt,

ture of this unit indicate that it was deposited mainly profiles. The gypsic C horizons have an average gyp-
by wash processes rather than by gravity and debris sum amount of 57 meq/lOO g soil. The gypsum is
processes. highly crystalline, non-powdery, disseminated in the
fine matrix, and deposited as cutans inside the shattered
4.2. Soil projiles description along the terrace riser gravel cracks. The salinity of these soils is far lower
than the Qal soils ( 11 mS/cm) . The maximum con-
Twenty soil profiles were described and analyzed centrations of the gypsum, salts, fines and shattered
along the terrace riser at two locations Tl and T2 (Figs. gravel in these soils decreases downslope (Table 1, Tl-
10and 11). 2,3; Fig. 10 Tl-3,4; Table 2, T2-3,5,6; Fig. 11 T2-3,6).
(A) The Qal su$ace. A Pleistocene Reg soil was Shattered gravel are distributed from the surface down
developed on this surface (Table 1, Tl-1 and Table 2, to a maximum depth of 40 cm. Salinity values in Tl-
T2-1) (Amit et al., 1993). The main pedogenic fea- 3, increase abruptly at a depth of 80 cm from 11 mS/
tures of this Reg soil are: a 0.4 cm thick vesicular A cm to 59 mS/cm (Table 1).
horizon; a gravel-free, reddish B horizon, with up to (C) The footslope (Table 1, Tl-4,5,6,7,8; Fig. 10
30% silt and clay; a powdery, alabastrine gypsic hori- Tl-6,7,9 and Table 2, T2-4,7,8,9; Fig. 11 T2-6,8,10).
zon. The gypsic horizon contains 40-50% shattered This segment is characterized by weakly developed
gravel down to a maximum depth of 23 cm with 370 gypsic-salic soils with AC profiles. The A horizons are
meq/ 100 g of gypsum. At a depth of 60-150 cm, there fine textured (up to 30% fines) with a vesicular struc-
is a petrosalic horizon cemented by soluble salts with ture. The Av horizons thin toward the toe of the slope.
no shattered gravel. The maximum salinity value at this The amount of soluble salts and gypsum increases
depth is 140 mS/cm (profile Tl-1, Table 1). abruptly to a maximum gypsum concentration of 330
(B) The backslope (Table 1, Tl-2,3; Fig. 10, Tl-3; meq/lOO g soil and 173 mS/cm EC from the surface
Table 2, T2-2,3; Fig. 11, T2-3). This section is char- to a maximum depth of 100 cm. The shattered gravel
acterized by weakly developed gypsic-salic AC (5-10%) occurs at a depth between 25 and 50 cm
102 R. Amit et ul. /Gromorpholo~y 12 (lYY5) Yl-107

Table 2
Field and laboratory characteristics of a soil catena along a terrace riser,, Nahal Shehoret alluvial fan (Trench T2 in Fig. 11)

Soil Depth EC Gypsum Ca” Mg” K’ Na’ Shattered Gravel Bounda$ Sand Silt Clay
horizon (cm) (mS/cm) (meq/lOO (mg/lOO (mg/lOO (mg/lOO (mg/lOO gravel (8) (%) (%) (%)
g soij) g soil) g sOi1) g soil) g soil) 7%)
-
r2-I
Av” G? x.2 5.5 55 7 IS.71 165.0 - <I c 49.30 38.72 11.97
BlgP 2-23 17.6 202.0 123 10.6 18.57 332.0 4G50 <5 c 70.97 28.65 0.39
BUY 23-43 128.4 367.3 384 57.6 X2.86 4925.0 - 70 c 60.71 38.79 0.50
Clyz 43-83 89.0 111.7 228 34.8 38.57 3250.0 70 a 74.70 21.61 3.69
C2Z 83-l I8 20.3 17.1 106 15.X 17.14 368.0 - 80 a 88.29 9.10 2.61

T2-2
Av” O-O.5 2.7 3. I 5x 4.4 3.86 x.0 - <l 69.44 21.66 8.90
ClY 0.5-33 10.3 139.3 x4 1O.h 18.57 192.0 l&IS 70 66.86 25.73 7.41
C2Y 33-80 14.9 31.4 87 13.4 20.7 I 256.0 - 70 86.70 10.49 2.81
c3 80-120 25.0 14.3 106 I3 20 624.0 80 86.99 9.05 3.95
C4 120+ 7.0 5.1 56 4.7 6.7 I 144.0 - 80 92.05 4.24 3.71

T2-3
Ava O-O.3 3.0 2.1 5x 5.4 5.7Y IS.0 <I c 67.46 23.94 8.60
ClY 3.5-20 IO.4 59.0 91 16.6 19.29 178.0 I5 70 g 70.22 24.73 5.05
C2Y 20-80 13.7 42.3 99 15.8 25.71 268.0 - 80 g 88.00 7.65 4.35
c3zy 80-120 19.5 26.0 102 16.6 30.7 I 388.0 - 80 g 82.66 14.83 2.51

T2-4
Al O-2 I .3 2. I 17 I .3 i.7Y I-1.0 -- <I g 74.88 18.15 6.98
A2 2-26 6.3 24.0 75 7 17.86 80.0 10 <l g 77.20 20.57 2.23
ClY 26-36 9.8 125.8 87 10.1 21.33 159.0 lo-15 70 g 83.45 13.75 2.80
C2Y 36-66 16.5 45.9 99 12 25.71 328.0 - 80 a 89.48 9.24 1.28
Czb 66-96 59.5 80.7 162 17.8 48.57 2070.0 90 a 80.66 15.25 4.09

T2-5
Al &3 0.4 1.6 5 0.75 I.5 I.4 - <I c 76.89 17.16 5.94
CIY 3-30 2.8 29.7 65 4 3.1 I h.5 30-40 70 g 90.76 7.08 2.16
C2Y 40-55 13.6 110.3 84 7.8 35.71 268.0 - 80 g 77.96 18.27 3.78
c3 55-70 10.8 19.8 81 5.6 25.71 205.5 - 80 g 93.19 4.79 2.01
c4 70-l 15 22.4 45.2 113 8.2 36.43 ___.
$5’0 - 80 C 88.44 10.28 1.28
C5 115-155 8.7 27.8 81 1.8 17.14 159.0 - 90 g 93.05 5.11 1.84

R-6
Al &3 0.5 1.8 5 0.9 7.2 275.0 - 5 c 78.02 15.81 6.18
ClY 3-43 8.2 38.0 92 8.6 14.5 135.0 10 90 g 88.81 7.11 4.08
C2Y 43-79 13.1 39.2 99 10.4 20.0 200.0 - 80 c 92.74 4.75 2.51
c3z 79-109 26.2 50.7 Ill 12.2 20.5 510.0 - 80 g 90.26 6.90 2.84
c4yz 109+ 10.4 18.7 89 8.6 IS.0 170.0 - 80 _ 87.83 7.09 5.09

72-7
Al O-17.5 4.1 3.6 25 5.6 13.0 60.0 - 70 g 75.77 15.97 8.36
ClY 17.5-44 9.6 19.4 95 10.4 14.0 162.0 10 80 g 82.55 12.24 5.22
C2Y 44-76 7.2 58.2 85 8.0 10.0 120.0 - 80 c 92.56 5.43 2.01
c3z 76-l 16 7.5 37.9 87 8.0 10.0 120.0 - 90 c 91.73 7.22 1.05
c4 116+ 6.8 10.1 80 6.6 6.2 116.0 - 90 _ 94.79 3.33 1.88
R. Amit et al. /Geomorphology 12 (1995) 91-107 103

Soil Depth EC Gypsum Car+ mg/ Mg’+ K+ Na’ mg/ Shattered Gravel Bounda$ Sand Silt Clay
horizon (cm) (mS/cm) meq/lOOg 1OOg soil mg/lOOg mg/lOOg 1OOg soil gravel (%) (o/o) (%) (%)
soil soil soil (%)

72-8
Al O-10 3.0 2.6 16 3.6 12.5 37.5 - 20 g 73.01 19.53 7.46
A2 lo-20 6.2 4.3 31 7.0 19.0 126.0 20 g 74.32 19.43 6.25
A3 20-32 8.8 4.4 37 9.6 21.0 174.0 1 70 g 73.31 18.46 8.23
Cl 32-57 10.3 6.7 44 10.1 18.0 210.0 1 70 g 80.69 13.93 5.38
C2Y 57-97 11.9 19.4 99 12.4 17.0 220.0 - 90 g 83.5 15.94 0.56
c3zy 97-145 7.3 8.0 81 8.4 11.0 128.0 - 90 g 94.88 4.55 0.57
c4 145+ 9.0 17.7 91 11.5 11.5 156.0 - 90 - 92.6 5.77 1.63

n-9
Al &5 8.0 4.0 22 2.9 15.0 174.0 - 10 c 70.42 21.64 7.94
A2 5-10 12.1 4.8 22 5.0 17.5 312.0 5-10 70 c 72.72 17.8 9.48
ClY lo-35 16.8 16.6 116 24.0 21.0 352.0 - 80 c 83.21 13.77 3.02
c2zy 35-63 7.8 38.1 64 16.8 13.5 121.0 - 80 g 84.19 14.73 1.08
c3 63+ 7.8 23.2 89 14.4 13.0 114.0 - 80 - 92.38 5.94 1.68

R-IO
Al O-O.2 3.2 3.0 23 6.2 5.8 39.5 - 10 g 64.72 26.86 8.42
ClY 0.240 13.5 39.1 84 7.4 18.6 288.0 20 70 c 73.49 20.17 6.34
C2Y 40-70 10.1 14.4 115 32.0 13.0 128.0 - 85 g 85.71 13.49 0.8
C3Y 70-95 7.6 10.6 95 23.6 7.8 78.0 - 85 g 88.95 9.94 1.11
c4 95+ 7.1 34.3 101 20.4 5.3 72.0 - 90 - 89.32 10.47 0.21

Key to table: for definitions see Soil Survey Staff (1975) and Birkeland (1984).
aAv = vesicular A horizon: gf = gravel-free B horizon.
b c = clear; g = gradual: a = abrupt.

kiIELocENE
SURFACE Qal
\

MIDDLE xc’
HOL.OCFBE
GYPSLMne$lmgrail
TI-1
SURFACE Qa3
020406080
ax-
Tl-3

zoi’
Tl-9
Fig. 10. Distribution of gypsum with depth and along the terrace riser Tl, from the Pleistocene Qal surface to the toeslope and the Holocene
Qa3 surface.
104 R. Amit et al. / Geomorpholog~ I2 (1995) 91-107

LATE
PLEISTOCENE
SURFACE Qal
\

l!d
T2-IO
Fig. 11,Distribution of clay and silt with depth and along the terrace riser T?. from the Pleistocene Qal surface to the toeslope and the Holocene
Qa2 surface.

(Table 1, Tl-4-8; Table 2, T2-7.8). The gypsum is gravel and bridge between them. In T2 the degree of
disseminated in the fine matrix and deposited as gyp- cementation varies along the slope; it is high close to
sum crystals on the gravel surface and in the cracks of the crest and less at the footslope (Fig. 9).
the shattered gravel.
(D) The Holocene stable surfaces Qu:! and Qu3.
The Reg soil T2- 10, developed on Qa2 surface. has an 5. Discussion
AC gypsic salic profile. Horizon A is thin (O-O.2 cm)
silty and has a vesicular structure. The C horizon, at a The colluvium of a terrace riser and that of a multiple
depth of 0.2-40 cm has 20% shattered gravel and a event fault scarp clearly differ in their morphology,
maximum gypsum concentration of 39 meq/ 100 g soil. sedimentology and pedology characteristics. On the
The concentration of the gypsum decreases with depth. terrace riser the shape of the alluvial/colluvial contact
Profile Tl -9 and T 1- 10 were developed on surface Qa3. is concave and the depth of the colluvium decreases
These soils are slightly less developed then the soils on upslope (Fig. 7 ) , whereas on a single or multiple fault
Qa2. Profile Tl-9 is partially buried by the fine material scarp the colluvium has a triangular shape with a sharp
derived from the C2 colluvial unit (Table 1, profile T l- contact between the fault plain and the colluvium (Figs.
9). Profile Tl- 10 is a young Reg soil with a cambic B 3 and 4). The thickness of the colluvial layer increases
horizon, 10-l 5% shattered gravel and a maximum gyp- upslope to the point where it is bounded by the fault
sum concentration of 8 meq/ 100 g soil. plane.
A petrosalic horizon extends from the petrosalic The colluvium on the fault scarp is very poorly sorted
horizon of the Qal soil to the footslope beyond the and is deposited primarily by rapid mass movement
location of the original vertical riser both Tl and T2 at processes (Wallace, 1977; Crone et al., 1987; Lubetkin
a depth of approximately 60 cm. The horizon is and Clark, 1988; Forman et al., 1991; McCalpin et al.,
between 30 and 80 cm thick, (Figs. 8 and 9) and with- 1993). The colluvium is very homogeneous, and indi-
out shattered gravel. The salinity is high (173 mS/ vidual stratigraphic units are recognized only by the
cm), with continuous salt cutans which envelope the presence of pedogenic features such as shattered clasts
R. Amit et al. /Geomorphology 12 (1995) 91-107 105

and increased salinity (Gerson et al., 1993). Similar ( 1991) who studied soil catenas on alluvial terrace
colluvial sedimentary structure and composition was risers.
also observed on a single-event fault scarp by Wallace The soils on the catena along the multiple-event fault
( 1977), McCalpin ( 1982), Berry ( 1990), McCalpin scarp, however, are weakly developed with no variation
et al., ( 1992) and Nelson ( 1992). In contrast, the col- downslope and no evidence of material from the
luvium of the terrace risers is composed of three distinct reworked Qal soil. Several buried soils were found in
colluvial units, with a coarse poorly sorted and non- the colluvium downslope from the fault plane, with
stratified deposit found at the base of the colluvium each representing a tectonic displacement event fol-
(Figs. 8 and 9; unit Clb) . This is considered to be the lowed by a period of tectonic quiescence (Gerson et
result of initial scarp collapse to an angle of repose. al., 1993). No cumulic soils were observed on the fault
Two other colluvial units were deposited on this col- scarp. The buried soils and the homogeneity of the
lapse deposit; Cla and C2 with the upper unit C2 being colluvium indicate that the colluvium was deposited by
finer than the lower one (Figs. 8 and 9). The finer episodic mass movements and that these processes have
texture of the C2 unit and its vesicular structure reflects continued since the Late Pleistocene.
the increasing prominence of wash-dominated proc-
The different patterns of catenary development
esses as the slope degrades to a lower angle.
between fault scarps and terrace riser slopes indicate
The different geomorphic histories of the fault scarp
different rates and types of slope processes. The more
and the terrace risers is also reflected in the soils devel-
strongly developed soils on the terrace risers and the
oped on the slopes. Although both the fault scarp and
colluvial stratigraphy indicate that these slopes are rel-
the terrace risers are formed between the same aged
atively stable and that minor slope wash is occurring at
surfaces Qal and Qa3, the pattern of the soils is very
present. On the fault scat-p, episodic activation of the
different. On the terrace risers, above the point of inflec-
slope along the same fault line has produced more rapid
tion, erosion and pedogenesis processes occurring
and intense erosion than on the terrace riser.
simultaneously. However, pre-weathered soil material
A thick, moderately cemented, petrosalic horizon
from eroded Qal soil moves down slope and has a
significant influence on soil development. Soils close developed parallel to the slope and below the point of
to the top of the slope display the most influence of the inflection on both terrace risers. Such an horizon is
pre-weathered soil material. For example, in T2-3 and found at a depth of 80-l 20 cm in well-developed Pleis-
Tl-3 there are relatively high amounts of gypsum, silt tocene Reg soils developed on stable alluvial surfaces
and clay close to the surface. This values decrease (Amit et al., 1993). It is absent from the soils developed
downslope such that soils close to the point of inflection on the lower Qa2 and Qa3 surfaces and along the fault
show very minimal soil development (see T2-6 and scarp. It is possible that this horizon was formed as a
Tl-4, Figs. 10 and 11). Below the point of inflection, result of solution and redeposition of the petrosalic
deposition occurs. The A horizons of these soils are horizon of the Qal surface. Another possibility is that
thick (20 cm) and consist of fine colluvium accumu- the salts were pushed down vertically from the original
lated as thinly layered wash deposits oriented parallel Reg soil during the formation of the terrace riser by the
to the slope and with a well-preserved vesicular struc- advanced wetting front or shallow throughflow. Two
ture. The soils have relatively high total gypsum, silt of the above possibilities can occur only under lower
and clay values. The maximum gypsum is found at a rates of slope degradation processes. The absence of
depth of 50-60 cm, and is much higher than that of the this horizon along the fault scarp, despite its presence
soil on the Qa2 and Qa3 surfaces. As the terrace riser on the upper Qal surface, indicate a more active erosion
and the lower terrace tread are similar in age, the process and instability of this slope. In two of the buried
increased gypsum and salts in the catena are derived soils developed on two colluvial units of the fault scarp,
from reworking of the Qal soil. No buried soils were a thin moderately developed petrosalic horizon was
formed on the terrace risers. Instead cumulic soils have found (Gerson et al., 1993). This indicates that under
formed under a slow, continuous deposition process. A stable slope conditions a petrosalic horizon will
similar trend was found by Birkeland and Get-son develop on the fault scarp.
106 R. Amit rt al. / Gromorpholog~ I2 (1995) 91-107

6. Conclusions Energy Commission. This division, and especially Dr.


Y. Weiler, were instrumental in initiating and setting
In extremely arid regions, for non-cohesive. coarse
up the project. Additional support was provided by the
gravelly material, the difference between non-faulted
Hebrew University internal funds for research. Grateful
terrace risers and multiple-event fault scarps is not
acknowledgements are extended to Dr. Y. Weiler and
always clear from the slope morphology. In our study,
Mr. Simon Berkowitz for their constructive reviews.
significant differences were found in the colluvial stra-
We thank Mrs. Iris Tzicha for helping with the field
tigraphy and the soil catenary relationships of the ter-
and lab work, Anat Altman-Bloch for drafting the fig-
race riser in comparison to the multiple-event fault
ures, and the anonymous reviewers for their comments.
scarp. The colluvial deposits of the terrace riser, which
We thank Dr. N. Porat, Geological Survey of Israel, for
is analogous to one fault event scarp, are fining upward
the IRSL dates which were made in collaboration with
and are composed of basal collapse and debris facies,
Dr. A.G. Wintle, Institute of Earth Science, The Uni-
with wash facies deposited above them. The lower con-
versity of Wales, Aberystwyth.
tact of the colluvium with the alluvium is concave and
the colluvium retreats upslope. The soils along the
footslope of the terrace riser are cumulative while the
soils along the upslope inherit some characteristics References
from a reworking of the soil on the upper surface. The
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riser indicate that the rates of erosion and deposition (gravelly ) soil in deserts - an example from the Dead sea
are very low and that the slope is relatively stable. The region. Catena, 13: 59-79.
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